Property management is the family business for Jeannette Gutierrez.
So, when Gutierrez moved across the country from New Jersey to California almost three decades ago, she knew where to start looking.
“I hopped on a Greyhound bus with a 1-year-old on my lap and set my roots here,” says Gutierrez, Assistant Community Manager for Rancho Carrillo Apartments in Carlsbad. “I went from such a rough life to so many things opening up for me.”
Her career has opened many doors, and helped her land with USA Properties. “My entire family is in property management,” she says.
For Gutierrez, property management is more than a career. It’s a calling, a connection.
“I like helping people,” says Gutierrez, who still carries her Brooklyn accent. “Sometimes (residents) come to you desperate.”
Like a 23-year-old resident who had a parent pass away and another was deported. All of a sudden, the young man became the guardian of his teenage and elementary school-aged sisters.
“He is raising his two sisters and working so hard,” Gutierrez says. “I am so proud of him. But I’m also proud that we were able to help them. It’s very rewarding.”
From her colleagues at Rancho Carrillo to senior executives at the company’s corporate headquarters, USA Properties wants to help residents – and team members – succeed.
“The camaraderie, the connection that everybody has is something I’ve never experienced,” she says. “I love my team. We have become like family.”
Indeed, Gutierrez – who has two sons – enjoys cooking for her coworkers and residents. She has cooked Christmas breakfast for residents and donned a Super Mario Bros. character costume for Halloween, handing out bags of candy to families.
It’s the kind of treat that makes Rancho Carrillo a special place, she says.
‘We’re all connected, and ready to help each other’
Affordable apartment communities often demand more paperwork than traditional properties, from checking on the household income of residents to filing the necessary forms under the tax credit program.
“The workload can be intense,” says Gutierrez, who was largely at market-rate properties before joining USA Properties in 2018. “It’s more time-consuming, but very rewarding.”
She never feels alone – and always has support, even during the Covid lockdown and throughout the pandemic. Her regional manager checks in every week and is available whenever needed.
“She is pretty amazing, she has done that the entire time,” Gutierrez says. “It’s so impressive.”
The we’ve-got-your-back approach at the apartment community and from the corporate office makes a huge difference.
“We’re all connected and ready to help each other,” says Gutierrez, who helped with leasing when Liberty at Aliso opened in nearby Aliso Viejo. “I can’t wait until we can all get together, again.”
She is happy with her decision to join USA Properties – where the president wants team members to call him by his first name – and plans to remain until she retires, quite a few years down the road.
“The company is amazing,” says Gutierrez, who has a six-minute commute from her home to Rancho Carrillo. “The pay and the benefits are great. If you believe in the mission, you will be satisfied.”
Outside the office
Jeannette Gutierrez is a self-described “homebody,” who enjoys cooking and “taking care of things that take time to obtain,” especially her home. She lives on a friendly cul-de-sac, where neighbors hold a monthly potluck.
“I’ll cook for the entire neighborhood,” says Gutierrez, who didn’t participate in the monthly parties when she first moved into the neighborhood. “Now, I’m the last one to go home.”
She also enjoys long drives and looking at architecture or going to the beach. “I love to listen the ocean and watch the sunsets.”