Investment dreams collapsing for these NC condo owners

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Did you buy your condo because you thought it was affordable? Were you looking for a carefree vacation getaway? Did you have high hopes it would be a great real estate investment?

If so, you are not alone.

But is your investment safe?

Reports such as this one from Carolina Beach, NC – where Carolina Surf condominiums have been shut down due to threat of collapse – are becoming more common.



Jenna Kurzyna WWAY3 TV

July 1, 2017

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Carolina Surf condos in Carolina Beach have been deemed no longer safe.

Evacuations of the condos took place late Friday afternoon.

Structural evaluations were conducted and corrosion has been detected on the steel of the building.

See Video Coverage:


‘Lack of structural integrity’ forces condominiums to be condemned

Friday, June 30th 2017, 9:28 pm EDT
Friday, June 30th 2017, 10:28 pm EDT
By: WECT Staff

A condominium complex in Carolina Beach was condemned and evacuated on Friday.

Carolina Beach Fire Department Captain Ken Athing said Friday night that the Carolina Surf condos at 201 Carolina Beach Avenue South were shut down due to a “lack of structural integrity.” Athing said the condemnation and evacuation happened between 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday.

A news release sent from the Town of Carolina Beach shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday revealed that evaluations of the building which began several weeks ago concluded the condos were in danger of collapsing because of steel corrosion.

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Buyer Beware

Beachfront condos priced at $250,000 – $350,000 may seem like a good deal. But consider the quality of the structure and carefully research the maintenance history before you agree to a purchase.

Obviously, owners of Carolina Surf condos face expensive repairs – or even total loss of their investments if those costs exceed 50% of the value of their units. If corrosion of steel framing is widespread, there may be no practical, cost-effective way to restore the infrastructure.


Condos don’t always age well

After 25 years of age, all condominium buildings begin to show signs of significant wear and tear. Ocean front structures must withstand salt air, hurricane force winds, tropical storms, high tides, high humidity, and the scorching summer sun.

By 30-40 years of age, if the condo association has been lax about preventive maintenance, severe and catastrophic structural breakdown begins.

In some cases, exterior walls can buckle, or portions of the building can suddenly shift and sink into the ground.

Some other common problems shared with me by condo owners across the country:

  • Water leaks from the roof, windows, and doors, causing water damage to interior of condo units, as well as growth of mold.
  • Poor storm drainage, resulting in water ponding near the building’s foundation, causing damage to concrete slabs, wood rot of sill plates, termite infestation, and flooding of ground level units. Or the parking lots may flood every time it rains, resulting in damage to vehicles.
  • Dangerous balconies that can suddenly collapse.
  • Elevators that stop working.
  • Wood rot or crumbling concrete on exterior staircases and cat walks.
  • Obsolete, inefficient heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Worn out windows and doors. And sometimes each owner is forced to pay for replacement, when doors and windows are not included in the exterior maintenance provided by the association.


Do you own an older condo in need of extensive repair? Can you and your association afford to make repairs? Share your comments below.

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