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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.

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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.

Written By

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.



  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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