From cleaning rags to riches

Lighthouse Cove Property Management’s owner was its former housekeeper.


Staff writer

Chrysztyna Montañez cleaned houses for Lighthouse Cove Property Management for four to five years.

But now she has her own desk and runs the joint.

Montañez bought the property management company from the previous owner in July. And since taking over, she has already made a few changes.

Lighthouse Cove Property Management moved to the Clear Creek Office Plaza on Kitsap Mall Boulevard in November and Montañez and her staff could not be happier.

“I love it, we all love it,” Montañez said. “It’s like we’ve been here forever.”

The company was located on Bayshore Drive for 11 years, but Montañez wanted a “new, professional look” for the business and moved to the Clear Creek building.

Montañez, a native of Canada, moved to the United States several years ago. She wanted a job where she could spend as much time as possible with her daughter, Anjelica, and housekeeping seemed to be the best fit.

“I wanted to work and not put my daughter in daycare,” she said.

Montañez cleaned houses on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor as well as at the Bremerton base. The previous owner of Lighthouse Cove Property Management then asked her if she would like to clean the houses for rent through Lighthouse Cove Property Management.

Lighthouse Cove Property Management serves as a liaison between the owner of the property and the tenant. They also help people rent the properties and place them in homes.

“My job is to make the process as painless for them as possible,” Montañez said.

Montañez became a receptionist at Lighthouse Cove Property Management in September 2006 and learned a lot about the business in that time. She later obtained her real estate license and eventually bought the place in July.

“I couldn’t have done it without my parents,” Montañez said. “My 75-year-old father still works on diesel rigs. I got his work ethic I think.”

The corporate name of Lighthouse Cove Property Management is The Rowek Group Inc., which serves as a tribute to her family. Rowek is Montañez’s maiden name.

Montañez said she is not your typical property management owner. She has piercings, tattoos and her hair changes colors from time to time.

“I’m a little different from your typical property manager,” she said with a smile. “As good as I am at what I do, people don’t like change, but we haven’t fared too poorly.”

Montañez and her husband divorced a couple of years ago and she became a single mom to 8-year-old Anjelica. She said times were rough, but they pulled through and are now doing well.

“We were broke, I mean food-bank-going broke,” Montañez said. “Now I can afford to send her to private school. I do what I do for her. I never wanted her to go without anything.”

Montañez said moving the business was a big hit to its funds, but things are starting to pick up.

“When you open a business it’s never going to be a cash flow right away,” she said. “At least now it’s not a constant worry. I can breathe a little bit.”

Montañez works her schedule around her daughter’s time at school. When she picks up Anjelica in the afternoons, the pair will sometimes show houses to prospective tenants together.

“She’s my assistant manager. She’ll go with me to help show houses,” Montañez said with a smile. “It’s strange hearing ‘five piece on suite’ coming from an 8-year-old.”

Montañez said she owes some of her success to the two ladies she works with because they have been great “sources of information.”

“The girls that work here are so amazing,” she said. “A lot of the things I didn’t know they knew and were amazing sources of information.”

Montañez is looking forward to many more years at Lighthouse Cove Property Management and has even hired new staff to fill her old shoes.

“Five years from now I’ll have the most successful property management company in Kitsap County,” she said with a smile. “Now somebody else cleans the houses.”