14-year-old buys distressed house for $13,000

The Florida teenager earned the money by selling items salvaged from foreclosed homes. With her share of the $700-per-month rent, she may buy a second home.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Mar 12, 2012 11:38AM

In 14-year-old Willow Tufano's neighborhood, the real-estate crisis has meant living surrounded by vacant homes, in the foreclosure epicenter of Florida.

 

It has also meant a chance to earn some real money, selling items no one wants out of foreclosed homes handled by her real-estate agent mother.

 

Now, Willow has become a landlord, after buying her first house for $13,000.

 

Her two-bedroom, one-bath home is in Port Charlotte, Fla., where property is worth about one-third of what it was at the peak. CNN Money picked Port Charlotte, a town on Florida's Gulf Coast with a population of about 48,000, as one of the best places to retire in 2009. At that time, the average three-bedroom house cost about $170,000.

 

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Courtesy of Shannon MooreWillow's house is modest, just 679 square feet, built in 1959 of concrete block, as most Florida houses are. You can see what the house looked like when she bought it here.

"There was glass everywhere. There was a dirty couch tipped over," she told NPR.  "Nothing was worth anything. It was like there was a riot or something."

Minors can't own real estate in Florida, so Willow bought the house with her mother, Shannon Moore, who paid for half. Willow hopes to buy out her mother by the time she's 18. She may even buy another house.

 

Willow's house last sold for $28,500 in 1987. We don't know what it would have sold for at the peak of the market in 2006, but Zillow's estimate is $85,000. The county assessed the house last year at $17,815.

There are 281 homes listed for sale in the same ZIP code, at prices ranging from $17,000 to $2.89 million. Port Charlotte is about 35 miles north of the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area, which suffered one of the biggest drops in home values in the nation.

 

After cleaning up the home with help from her family, the teenage entrepreneur rented it to a young couple and their baby for $700 a month, which she splits with her mother.

Willow, who is home-schooled, says she is not sure she wants to follow her mother and grandmother into real-estate sales. But she likes being an investor.

 

"Investing is really cool," she told Susanna Kim at the ABC News Consumer Reports blog. "You get to see a property that was a mess before and afterward see that it’s beautiful."

 

 
202Comments
Mar 12, 2012 4:07PM
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I think thats Great!! Keep it up Willow
Mar 12, 2012 4:03PM
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Maybe the girl had  trust account or something where she could afford the purchase. If so that would clarify legalities.
Mar 12, 2012 3:58PM
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i think she gets too much credit. people talk about what we could do if we try???

 

not everyone is given free things to sell for money, not everyone has somebody who will pay for half a house for them, not everyone has a real estate agent who will make sure everything is done legit without you getting screwed AND do it for FREE.

 

does this article mention who payed to have the house fixed up so they could rent it???

Mar 12, 2012 3:58PM
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Once kids have memorized their tables, there is little they can not accomplish.  Soon they are creating housing contracts using the formulii  time, rate, interest and principal and can estimate

answers with out pencil and paper just by following each formula. If they know how to cancel they don't need a banker and in estimations can often get along without a calculator. This youngster is learning something even more important, how to get along with your parents.Hire her before she discovers tatoos.

T=i/rp

 

R=i/tp

 

I=prt

 

P=i/tr                          

Mar 12, 2012 3:53PM
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This must be one crap town to buy a house for $13,000.... I live outside of Boulder you cannot touch a condo for less then $100,000, yet alone a house for under $200.000. There is a reason, because it is a desireable place to live!!!! Not sure I would be so proud of having a story posted about myself having bought a slum.
Mar 12, 2012 3:50PM
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Way to go, young girl!  It sounds like she's using her time wisely.  Why is it when someone is productive, wise, intelligent, creative, innovative, and successful, there are always people who try to "knock them down" by guilting them by saying, "She should give the house away to an organization that helps people in our own country.  Then it'll be worth talking about"."  To Janet McGonagle, if it wasn't worth talking about, you shouldn't have put your two cents worth in here.  How do you know the girl isn't giving to charity already?  Sounds like you're judging to me.  You don't know the girl or her mother.  Maybe she is tithing to her church or giving time to local charity already.  Since when is it a crime to be young and innovative in this country instead of doing drugs, getting pregnant, or shooting people.  Think before you speak.  I applaud the girl AND her mother for teaching her how to earn a living.  ALSO, I've found there is always a job to be had for anyone in this country.  People are getting too used to "getting everything for free, gimme gimme gimme."  What happened with getting a job?  If there isn't a job in your town, walk to the next town and get one, if you don't have a car.   
Mar 12, 2012 3:50PM
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did she get approvel  to sell the things from the foreclosed homes it did not bolong to her.thats like me hitting all the forclosed homes and stealing all the fans  furniture and other stuff that belong to others
Mar 12, 2012 3:50PM
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Good for you Willow.  You are never too young to learn the value of hard work.  If this is her hobby, then good for her.  The people making negative comments need to get over themselves.
Mar 12, 2012 3:45PM
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I LIVE OVER THE BRIDGE FROM PORT CHARLOTTE IN PUNTA GORDA..YOU CAN BUY HOUSES ALL DAY LONG IN P0RT. CHARLOTTE FOR 20K OR LESS . I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THEY CAN GET 700.00 A MONTH FOR ONE OF THOSE SHACKS. THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS ARENT VERY SAFE . READ THE PAPERS , HUGH DRUG PROBLEMS , LOTS OF CRIME . THEY MAKE SECURITY CAGES TO GO AROUND THE OUTSIDE A/C UNITS BECAUSE THEY GET STOLEN SO OFTEN.. IM WILLING TO BET THE RENTERS WONT BE THERE TOO LONG..HOPE THE YOUNG GAL GOT A NICE BIG SECURITY DEPOSIT FROM THE RENTERS..
Mar 12, 2012 3:44PM
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You certainly got what you paid for. A real palace. It'll cost $100K to make it livable. Good luck.
Mar 12, 2012 3:42PM
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Face it, if the girl was in foster care, she wouldn't be doing this.  Basically she shows up and does what her Mom tells her and signs the paper where her mom puts the X.  Its all good, but the kid isn't the next Einstein or Bill Gates.  Her Mom ran the story because all the realtors are running around saying 'hey buy a foreclosure and rent it and make money', because then they get their commission.  Eventually the market will become efficient enough that we don't need realtors, just think about how much money these parasites suck out of the economy every year. I've rented out properties for 30 years and its no walk in the park.  The real story would be if they helped the family move in and helped them rehab it and helped them finance it so they were only paying $300/month to buy the house themselves, instead of trying to screw them out of enough rent to pay the thing off in a year, trying to make a buck with their greed.  And yes, I have tenants that don't  pay me rent because they don't have the money, because I can.
Mar 12, 2012 3:40PM
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Its wonderful & encouraging to see that kind of initiative from someone so young. You Go Girl!!  :)
Mar 12, 2012 3:39PM
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I see a lot of commenters failed to read the entire story about this 14 year old GIRL, and her mother, who just happened to be a real estate agent.

As it was also stated in the article, the young lady, as a minor, cannot be "sole owner" of property in the state of Florida, thus her mother had to get involved.

I'm sure all the laws of that state were followed, to the letter, to avoid possible repercussions farther down the line.

Personally, I think this women has her head on straight, and has imparted some of her personal initiative to her daughter.

Good going Willow.

Mar 12, 2012 3:36PM
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You are giving this girl too much credit. Stupid article. Her mother obviously did everything
Mar 12, 2012 3:33PM
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Good for her!  She is learning responsibility & investment!

My son bought & sold vehicles at about that age.  Made money on every one he had!  Just have to look for the bargains & be able to do any necessary repairs!

Mar 12, 2012 3:32PM
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Good job girl if that is what you wanted to do.

 

As a father I have never pushed my kids to grow up before they graduated. Always told them that was the time to enjoy your self as after school you have to WORK.

 

Mar 12, 2012 3:31PM
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life is so crazy anymore  how is it that a young person is allowed to enter into such a contract. maybe now the mother will let her donate the house to an organization that helps people in our own country. then it might be worth talking about it. lets teach our younger generation the meaning of helping others
Mar 12, 2012 3:17PM
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"Investing is really cool"

 

Good for her, hope she feels the same after she gets tangled up in the mess we call a tax code.

Mar 12, 2012 3:14PM
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whosworld, or should I say what planet. Read the heading. She DID raise money on here own by selling salvaged items from abandoned homes! Next time read the whole story b4 popping off.
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