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September 21, 2006

Aust. builder = new inspector

Richard Owens Jr. of Austin is no stranger to the housing business after building homes and businesses for 26 years.

However, instead of wielding a nail gun, these days he is carrying a camera and inspection reports.

Owens has hit the streets of Austin in van with RDO Home Inspection written on the side. His new business has him inspecting homes for buyers, sellers and real estate agents throughout southeastern Minnesota.

“It is not so much a career change as a life changes,” he says of moving from building to inspection.
After years of putting up walls and nailing down shingles, Owens found himself looking for something new following a 2001 accident that shattered the lower part of his right leg. Many surgeries and therapy followed the accident.

“I lost a lot of things when I hit the ground,” he says. “It has been a long haul.”

When he felt ready to get back to work, Owens decided he did not want to go back to hauling shingles up ladders.

“This wasn’t an idea I had,” he said of becoming a home inspector. “A local Realtor suggested it.”

Being a hands-on guy, he opted to do his training through ProSource Educational Services in St. Paul. Now putting the training together with his experience, he is feeling confident about doing inspections.

While he is available for all types of home inspections, Owens says he particularly likes to work with home sellers. An inspections can help eliminate some “speed bumps” during the sale process, he said.
Most of the issues he sees with homes are little things like not enough slope away from the home or a lack of caulk in key spots.

“A lot of it is littler things, but they are hugely important,” Owens said. Helping people deal with those little things before the become big problems is now his career just as building homes was before.

“It is very satisfying,” he says of his new career.

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