Rachel Oslund: LodeStar Inspection Services
Human trafficking, radon, and mental illness. These things might not seem like they’d go together but in Rachel Oslund’s world, they surely do. As the general manager of LodeStar Inspection Services, she said, “Educating people about these three things lights me up.”
Rachel is a natural teacher. She enjoys conducting continuing education classes for REALTORS®, as well as seminars for home buyers. Presently, she is in the process of writing and submitting a lesson plan for the Maryland Real Estate Commission on human trafficking. Why? She believes people in the industry are in a unique position to recognize the signs of trafficking. While a padlock on a bedroom door may be obvious, other clues are not. Her goal is to show agents what to look for and how to proceed.
One of Rachel’s most popular classes is about radon. Realizing that 22,000 people a year die from radon exposure, she considers it her mission to educate and inform. She works hard to make the classes fun and interesting by sharing historical anecdotes and real-life situations. She’s also conducted classes about the dangers of mold and has shed light on the growing scourge of hidden meth labs in houses.
Regarding mental illness, Rachel admits that she has lived with depression and anxiety and understands some people are embarrassed by it and won’t get the help they need. Not only does she believe that there needs to be a shift in the way we view mental illness but is convinced that the more we talk about these things, the better off we will all be.
Rachel has been inspecting houses for almost 13 years and is active in the local real estate community. She is a graduate of the Maryland Realtors Leadership Academy and a member of Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors, GBBR, Carroll County Realtors, and the Howard County Association of Realtors (HCAR). She started her inspection career in Howard County and currently sits on the Board of Directors for HCAR and is the vice chair of the HCAR’s YPN committee. For over a decade, she has been a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors and is the Membership Director of the newly-chartered network of Women’s Council of Realtors in Howard County.
Rachel has lived in many places around the United States and Europe because of her father's career as an army chaplain. During her senior year in high school, she got to experience the fall of the Berlin Wall. “It was quite an experience,” Rachel recalls. “I witnessed capitalism in action. People were renting out their tools to others so they could chip off pieces of the wall.” She, too, has pieces of the wall and welcomes suggestions for displaying it creatively (and the rebar running through it).
Rachel's interest in homes arose from moving around frequently growing up and examining houses that her parents were renting or buying. Rachel still has many ties to the military. She has two children and the youngest, Alex, is 22 years old and is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps. Her oldest, James, is 24 years old and works in Tallahassee, Florida, for the Department of the Environment. Last year she married Eric Powell, who was in the Coast Guard. Eric owns an IT company and the couple understands the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance as business owners.
For Rachel, it’s all about connecting with people. Whether it’s teaching REALTORS®, coaching others to live empowered lives they love, or working with her team, her commitment to knowledge and excellent service is a cornerstone of the company culture.
Rachel and her team thoroughly inspect and educate clients about how to care for and maintain the homes they've fallen in love with, rather than trying to scare them out of buying. They know there are only two types of homes: Homes that have problems and homes that are going to have problems and no house is perfect. The inspection isn't a pass or fail situation. This empowers clients while getting them even more excited.
Rachel says the team is tightly-knit. They have a group text and team meetings in which they share training and take advantage of each other's inspection experiences to provide clients better service. They offer a one-stop scheduling experience, handling the logistics of the septic, termite, water testing, mold sampling, radon, asbestos, and lead inspections.
By definition, a lodestar is a star that guides you home and she says it was a perfect name for her company. The entire staff takes this sentiment to heart. As Rachel put it, “We are real producers serving real producers and we help clients buy the house they love!”
This article first appeared in the June issue of Baltimore Real Producers. The article was written by Molly Lauryssens and the photographs were taken by Maryland Photography Inc.