Shelby: Just by looking at Willow Tufano, you might be surprised to learn that she is already a successful entrepreneur.
Willow Tufano: I bought my first house and I am buying my second house here soon.
Shelby: That is right, Willow is a homeowner! And at age 15, she is not stopping anytime soon.
Willow: I’m trying to get as many houses as I can while the market is low.
Shelby: The housing market in Florida has been in trouble for years, and Willow buys homes that are in foreclosure for a discounted price. Foreclosure is when a bank takes back a home because the owner was not able to make the payments on the home loan. And Florida has the highest foreclosure numbers in the nation.
Willow: I don’t really remember a time where there wasn’t foreclosures.
Shelby: Willow says she learned all about home foreclosures from her mom, who is a realtor.
Willow: I would go around with my mom and look at these houses. And there was one that was filled with a whole bunch of furniture that was nice. And I said, ‘Well, I can sell this stuff.’ So that was how it started.
Shelby: Willow made her first six thousand dollars by selling old furniture. And she used that money to help her purchase this $12,000 home. Now she is in the process of buying another house, which costs $17,500.
Willow Tufano: I just try and save every penny that I can to invest in more houses.
Shelby: Today, Willow spends her spare time gathering and selling items – not just from foreclosed homes – but from garage sales, charities and even street curbs. And Willow is also making money as a landlord, renting out the homes she has purchased. Because she is not yet 18, Willow can’t legally be the owner of the properties. But when she is an adult, her mother will sign the homes over to her.
Shannon Moore: I said ‘Willow, lead the way. Show me where you need to go.’ And she has.
Willow: I want to have probably around ten houses by the time that I’m 18. I want to try for two a year, pretty much.
Shelby: All from a girl who is too young to drive but has plenty of direction.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.