When you were a child, you probably tuned into the PBS show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, where a homespun sweater-clad Fred Rogers often sang “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Mr. Rogers might be singing a different tune today if he were a property manager of a big co-op or condo community, where it’s often a challenge getting residents to mix and mingle. Often, buyers or shareholders choose communities, not only because they like their units or the neighborhood, but because co-ops and condos offer a level of socialization and community that other neighborhoods with single family homes might not have.
Co-ops and condos operate as little communities or villages unto themselves—they have their board, their manager, their residents and their maintenance and door staff, and that seems to be all they need. The key question, though, is with everyone so busy and insulated, and with leisure activities often devoted to indoor activities in front of a TV screen or a computer, how do residents actually get out and meet and greet their next-door neighbors?
It's not an easy task, says Sal Fiore, a property manager with West Broward Community Management, Inc., in Plantation.
“I live in South Florida—there are a million things to do. Everybody is either out riding their motorcycle or out on their boats fishing. There's just so many things to do down here, that's it's tough to get people to commit to hanging out with their neighbors and maybe they don't really want to,” he says.