14-Year-Old Real Estate Investor Buys Bank Repossessed Home

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14-year-old Willow Tufano is co-owner of this $100,000 value Florida home — Image: Chana Joffe-Walt/NPR — click to enlarge

This heart-warming story caught my attention. Good news is scarce in real estate, today.

With the US sub-prime crisis in 2005 an unprecedented real estate tsunami signalled the start of a worldwide recession. It was a phenomena known as the United States Housing Bubble.

Real estate markets everywhere went into free fall, a decline that may only now be bottoming out. Bank repossessed properties, or foreclosures, went through the roof and may still be on the increase.

Whenever clouds are about, sometimes, we’ll find one with a silver lining. 14-Year-old Willow Tufano from Florida was in the right place at the right time when a $100,000 value, 2-bedroom, home became available on an auction for just $12,000. Her mother, a Florida real estate agent, went into the deal with her on a half-share basis.

Willow used her savings, earned from buying and selling second-hand furniture on Craiglist.com, to fund her end of the deal. In her free time she provides a service to dispose of the leftover items from foreclosed homes. It’s a spare-time activity that, from small beginnings, is now bringing in $500 a month. Not bad for a hobby.

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Co-owner Willow, at left, and her tenants standing in front of her newly aquired Florida home — Image: Chana Joffe-Walt/NPR — click to enlarge

The place was a mess. Willow says:

” . . it looked like there was a riot or something.”

After they fixed it up they managed to find a young couple to rent it for $700 a month. So within a few years they’ll reach break even and start making a profit on the venture. By then the house would have increased in value too. A sweet deal.

In four years time Willow will be 18 and then she intends to buy out her Mother and put her name on the Title Deed. She’s reportedly saving up to make a second investment in real estate.

Source: Chana Joffe-Walt/NPR

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