Willow Tufano is making the most of the poor housing marking in Florida and just became a home owner at the age of 14.
The Florida teen lives in Port Charlotte, Florida, an area severely hit by the real-estate crisis. Her mother, Shannon Moore, is a real-estate agent who works with investors looking to bid on foreclosed homes.
When Tufano heard about one listing, a two-bedroom, one-bath 647-square-foot home in the neighbourhood selling for just $12,000, she decided to act — and buy.
"I was like, 'What if I bought a house? That would be crazy'," she told NPR.
Twelve-thousand dollars might not seem like much to home buyers, but that's a lot of money for a teenager. So how did the 14-year-old have the funds for such an investment?
Craigslist and ingenuity.
Tufano often tagged along with her mother to foreclosed properties. She saw a business opportunity in the left-behind appliances and furniture inside the homes. She collected and sold the unwanted items online, raking in about $500 a month until she had $6,000 in savings.
Because minors can't legally own real estate in Florida, Tufano split the investment with her mother with the plan to buy out Moore when she turns 18. They purchased the concrete home — worth about $100,000 before the crash — cleaned it up, and started renting it to a young couple for $700 a month.
"If there's one thing I want people to know, it's that your age does not matter," the mini mogul told ABC News. "If I can inspire another person my age, younger, that would mean the world. Whether it's buying a house, buying a car, or whatever. If you really work for it and put your mind to it you can do what you want to do."
She's now considering saving for a second house, with greater sights set on a career in investing:
"I'm not so sure about real estate," Tufano said. "But investing is really cool. You get to see a property that was a mess before and afterward see that it's beautiful. I suppose with real estate you can connect with people more, but I would probably prefer investing."