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14-Year-Old Girl Buys a Foreclosed House For $12,000

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The fact that Florida, with its absurd number of cheap, bank-owned properties, is truly a land of opportunity is not lost on anyone, not even teenagers. Some 30 miles north of Fort Myers, for example, 14-year-old Willow Tufano scored a foreclosed house—one that might have been worth $100K in its heyday—for $12,000. An NPR piece details the story: during the housing boom, Tufano's family moved into a large house and her mom became a real estate agent. When the bubble burst, she watched friend after friend move from the neighborhood and house after house empty out; her mom, in turn, focused her energies on helping to sell these new foreclosures. One day, Tufano tagged along to check one of them out. "When I walked in there, it was filled with all kinds of stuff," Tufano says. "There was furniture, there was lamps, lots of different stools, a lot of it was tropical, like Tommy Bahama-looking stuff."

Photo by Chana Joffe-Walt/NPR

Next in this "parable of American real estate," as NPR's Chana Joffe-Walt describes it: selling all that stuff on Craigslist. And then the contents of another empty house, another empty house, and another empty house, effectively becoming an expert in merchandising items online. ("Microwaves, like, I'll price them really low, like 20 bucks, because everyone wants stainless steel.")

Here's how this ends: Tufano earned nearly $500 a month until she had saved up enough to split a $12,000 home with her mom. "I just had, like this thing, I was like, what if I bought a house? That'd be crazy, and then I'd be able to make money every month—I'd get rent, I wouldn't have to worry [...] That'd be really cool." Over the course of the next few years, she will buy out her mom's portion and become the official homeowner when she turns 18. "I am Willow Tufano," she says. "I am 14, and I own a MacBook Air, a paddleboard, a long board, a PlayStation 3, four ferrets, and I own a house."

· This 14-Year-Old Girl Just Bought a House in Florida [NPR via Boing Boing]
· Lots and Lots of People Want to Move to Florida, Apparently [Curbed National]