How Rachel DeCamp Built Her Real Estate Empire
If only more people could be as hardworking and well-organized as Rachel DeCamp, the world would be in much better shape. As a licensed community association manager, a.k.a. LCAM, as well as a property manager, DeCamp specializes in helping community associations and individual rental property owners navigate through the churning waters of maintenance, tenant selection, budget management, legal issues, rental collection and the rest of the responsibilities associated with rental property and homeowner associations.
The fact that she is also an experienced real estate agent with thorough knowledge of real estate laws adds an extra layer of value that is coupled with a can-do attitude laser-focused on finding optimum solutions to the many issues that are part of the day for her clients.
“Having a real estate background is an added bonus to my management portfolio,” said the Pt. St. John resident.
With the goal of her clients’ best interests always top of mind, DeCamp operates DeCamp Enterprises, Rocket Association Management and is an affiliate with RLL Real Estate Group. Her reputation for excellence has made DeCamp the go-to manager in the local real estate community. She is one of the most referred property managers in the county.
“It’s very humbling that fellow Realtors refer so many of their clients to me,” she said. “Real estate specialists call me because they know they can count on me for resources and solutions for their referral customers.”
LCAM vs. Property Manager
LCAMs and property managers are distinctly different jobs. While property managers focus on specific single properties, an LCAM oversees the day-to-day operations of an entire community. Both property managers and LCAMs handle maintenance upkeep and repairs. But a property manager primarily deals with individual landlord/tenant issues, unlike LCAMs, who oversee the needs of an entire building or community.
These multifaceted individuals can advise the HOA board on proposed policy, monitor contractors and jobs, maintain finances, collect payments, attend board meetings, issue refunds, serve as point of contact for closing agents and real estate attorneys, and resolve violations and disputes.
“It’s management in a bigger spectrum,” said DeCamp, who manages 75 individual properties, together with five community associations/HOAs.
In Florida, LCAMs are required to attend state-approved classes and pass both their school’s exam and the state exam in order to obtain a license to practice.
Why hire an LCAM?
HOAs may think that a DIY approach could save money, but running a community association can sap the time and energy of the board and ultimately cost more if mistakes are made with vendor/contractor selections and with legal considerations.
“Associations can govern themselves, but it is very time-consuming and can be a thankless job,” DeCamp said. “A good LCAM does not take over an association, but rather helps them through any hurdles they encounter.”
To further ease clients’ financial hesitation, Rocket Association Management, unlike some of the “big box” operators, adheres to an a la carte philosophy that permits clients to pick and choose the range of services needed.
“We base our prices on the needs of each association and customize our services to that end,” DeCamp said. “Rocket was birthed because there was a need to better support LCAMs’ representation and compensation.”
Joining DeCamp at Rocket Association Management is Shane Turner, a licensed real estate professional since 2014. In 2019, Turner expanded his expertise by earning a community association management license, which allows him to offer a comprehensive approach to real estate services.
DeCamp depends on her husband, Scott, to undertake the general maintenance tasks her managed properties may require. Scott, owner of Space Coast Insulation and Repair, has an extensive background in labor management, and, like Rachel, is highly detail oriented.
“Our businesses complement each other,” DeCamp said.
Scott’s organized schedule of preventive maintenance also helps clients avoid expensive headaches.
“General maintenance needs to be done before it becomes a major issue,” DeCamp said.
With Scott’s help, DeCamp also knows if tenants are not being considerate with the properties and is able to address the situation before it may become critical.
“I do my best to screen and obtain the best tenants, but naturally things can happen,” she added. “My owners and my owners' homes are always my first priority.”
Rachel and Scott share a bond forged from similarly difficult childhoods. Rachel, originally from New Jersey, lost her mother and younger brother to AIDs when Rachel was 9 years old. Scott, a Connecticut native, lost his father to the disease at age 16. In and out of relatives’ homes during her childhood, Rachel for a time lived with her grandparents in Brevard County. Scott’s mother relocated their family to Brevard, where they lived one step away from homelessness in the Jetty Park campground.
The experiences the couple endured during a less-than-ideal youth cemented their desire for a stable, loving home environment for their two sons.
“We’re stronger from what happened to us,” Rachel said.
Their lives revolve around their boys. Twenty-three-year-old Anthony, who serves as a senior airman with the Air Force in California, will marry his Air Force sweetheart, Sydney, later this year. Fourteen-year-old Dominick is homeschooled and, after school tasks are completed, enjoys helping his father with his home maintenance business.
The couple also prefer to live modestly, leasing one of the homes DeCamp manages.
A staunch believer in the power of education, DeCamp is constantly honing her skills through industry-related classes.
“I feed my brain through weekly classes,” she said. “New laws come up all the time and I want to be ahead of the curve. Knowledge is power. I know the Florida tenant/landlord laws like the back of my hand.”
Attorney trained, DeCamp maintains a productive professional relationship with one of the most experienced real estate law firms, Becker Law Firm, which constructs leases and is continuously making updates to protect owners.
Her approach to her job emphasizes a positive approach, not a negative one. Property owners appreciate that because it works.
“You handled our difficult tenant fearlessly and fairly,” one client noted.
In a card of appreciation she received from one of the community associations she manages, board members raved that, “Rachel was the best thing to have ever happened” to the association and “please, never leave us.”
“I prefer solving issues together to everyone’s satisfaction,” she said. “I am usually able to negotiate for better outcomes. I love problem-solving that makes everyone happy.”
By the numbers
- 351,000: # of HOAs in the U.S.
- 70: Percentage of HOAs managed by a community association manager
- 8,000: New community associations formed annually