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How one Realtor’s teen daughter is buying real estate on her own

While her counterparts focus on playing sports or going to the mall, one Florida teen hatched a real plan to buy a property, which is already generating income, a hopeful sign for the long road ahead toward a real estate recovery.



A true sign of the times

Editorialists comment every day on the disintegrating values, noting a decline in the quality of teen aged role models, the lewd behavior of the pop singers and movie stars of today, and the poor quality of public education producing unprepared workers. In one fell swoop, Florida teen, Willow Tufano reminded our nation that the poor example is set by the few, and without setting out to impress anyone or see her picture in the newspaper, she showed the gumption of her generation.

Tufano is 14 and the daughter of a Realtor, and not only has she purchased a home, she has renters in it and positive cash flow, according to NPR. She has grown up in a depressed economy, not knowing the glory days of decades past, only the sad byproducts of the crushed Florida real estate market, one of the states most hard hit by the foreclosure crisis.

When her mother would show short sales, foreclosures, and abandoned homes to investors, she tagged along and ingeniously took it upon herself to offer to clean out the items left behind in the homes by past tenants, selling any items of value on Craigslist which led to an income of over $500 per month.

“What if I bought a house?”

Tufano toured a $100,000 home set to be auctioned off for roughly $12,000. She told NPR, “I was like, ‘What if I bought a house?’ That would be crazy.”
Shortly thereafter, Tufano was a home owner.

Her mother’s name is on the title and paid for half of the property, but Tufano has arranged to buy out her mother’s portion after she turns 18. The home was repaired and revitalized, and now has tenants who pay $700 per month.

While her teen counterparts are playing Angry Birds or roaming the mall, Tufano is still cleaning out homes and selling items on Craigslist, while also generating income from a property she owns. She says she may pursue other real estate purchases, a hopeful sign for the economy, speaking directly to the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation that is still so very alive.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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  1. David Pylyp

    March 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    This is a wonderful and inspirational story, In Toronto Canada, a child cannot legally purchase Real Estate until they are 18 years old. We (in your story) would need to create a TRUST.

    MINORs in Canada cannot enter into a Contract.

    David Pylyp
    Oakville Real Estate

    • Eric Johnson

      March 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Legally she probably didn’t. I doubt a minor can buy a house anywhere in the US by themselves as well due to US contract law. The story left out the part where her mom bought the house with her (buying her mom’s interest…) while she provided the cash. As they say, the Devils in the details.

      • Jim

        March 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        Eric, did you even bother to read the article? See the part where it says “Her mother’s name is on the title and paid for half of the property”

  2. Mark Washburn

    March 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Way to go Willow…you are truly and inspiration!

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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