When the housing market went belly up in South Florida, 14-year-old Willow Tufano learned a lesson in opportunity from her real estate agent mother Shannon. The teen bought a home, along with her mom, that they now rent out for $700 a month, according to NPR's Chana Joffe-Walt. And Willow plans to expand her burgeoning real estate business. Is the teen on her way to real estate stardom? A quick guide:
How does a 14-year-old come to own a home?
While tagging along with her mom as she viewed foreclosed houses for investors to purchase and flip, Willow got the idea to sell furniture left behind in the homes on Craigslist. One buyer gave her permission, and then another, and another, and soon she was making $500 a month. She was able to save enough money to pay for half of a foreclosed two-bedroom home that had dropped in price from $100,000 to $12,000. Her mother paid the other half, and the duo now rents the house to a young couple for $700 a month.
What are Willow's next moves in real estate?
Willow says that she would like to buy out her mom's half in the next few years, and also put her name on the title of the house by the time she turns 18. She even plans to save money to buy a second home.
What should we make of Willow?
She's pouncing like an "opportunistic property baron," capitalizing on other people's misfortune, says Doug Barry of Jezebel. "Seriously?" says Joslyn Gray at Babble. "Here's a 14-year-old girl who, instead of collecting glitter nail polish and clip-in hair extensions, owns a freaking home," and she's being criticized for it? I say good for Willow. She's learning how to save and invest, and providing a valuable service by "renting out a fairly priced, well-maintained home." This could be a good sign, says NPR's Chana Joffe-Walt. "When a 14-year-old kid can buy a house, the market must have hit bottom."