Steve serves on the board of Cardinal Ritter Senior Services (CRSS) and the Lindberg School District Foundation (LSF). CRSS is a nonprofit organization that provides services to improve the quality of life for senior adults by promoting and providing social, health, and housing programs. Services are provided in St. Louis City and County, as well as St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, and Warren Counties. LSF is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Lindberg Schools’ commitment to excellence in all facets of education. The foundation provides scholarships to students and grants for teachers. Steve is also an active member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). NARPM is the professional, educational, and ethical leader for the residential property management industry. Lastly, Steve serves on the Sunset Hills planning and zoning commission. The commission has the authority to recommend regulations as to size, value, and type of construction of buildings proposed to be erected in the city.
Outside the Office
Over the next few years we were able to buy a dozen or so properties and really began to understand the ins and outs of the business. While we were learning a lot, we quickly realized that owning rental property was a difficult 24/7 job. It didn’t matter to us as we liked the challenge! Deca Partnership was growing and we had a vision for much more. I was handling the financials on a part-time basis, but knew I wanted a bigger role in the company.
As we started managing our own properties we began to run across other property owners who were looking for someone to help them manage their own properties. These were people who had full time jobs but had rental property for a side income. However, they were discovering they needed help being available to their tenants on a regular basis. At the time, there were only a few property management companies in St. Louis. What we saw was a huge demand for quality property managers. So, in 1990 I knew it was time for me to step up and I got my broker’s license from the Missouri Real Estate Commission. Under my direction, we started a new company, Deca Property Management, Inc. I was also still working in healthcare, so I needed the help of more family. My Mom was hired to run the office, my brother Jim became a full-time property manager and brothers Rick, Mike, and Dave continued with the maintenance work. We hired our first non-family employee, Marty Carr as a property manager to help steer our growing company.
Over the past 28 years our family business has evolved. We changed our name to Deca Realty to better reflect the fact that we do property management and real estate sales. Jim and Marty became owners and we added Angela Velazquez as another owner. We have changed from handwritten rent receipts to online rental payments. But despite the growth and changes, one thing has remained constant –the way we treat people. My parents were adamant that fairness and courtesy be the foundation of Deca. With those virtues in mind, we developed our value statement, “Do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons, every time.” And that is how we run Deca Realty every day.
Today I spend much of my time at Deca as president and CFO. I’m continually striving to instill growth with positive change. We now employ over 40 people and while not everyone is a blood relative, we operate as a family unit. Our services now include: property management, sales, maintenance, flipping homes and general contracting.
We are involved in the community and we are leaders in the property management industry. I focus every day on making sure our staff provides the best possible service to both owners and tenants. Investing in real estate is difficult. I am proud that Deca Realty helps owners navigate the pitfalls of property ownership and to help tenants find a nice place to call home.
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“Personalized service – we will treat you as our only customer“