Meet America’s Youngest Landlord

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Here’s a nice feel-good story about a financially-savvy teenager. 14-year-old Willow Tufano may be America’s youngest landlord. She bought a house in a short sale in Port Charlotte, Florida for $12,000. The 3-bedroom house is now rented out for $700 a month! (The house was on the market for $100,000 at the peak of housing bubble.)

More details – She put down $6,000 cash, her mom (a real estate agent) put down $6,000. She earned her share of the cash primarily from offering a service where she clears out foreclosed houses on behalf of the new investors. She then picks through the stuff and resells any goods or appliances that she can. She also spends her weekends looking for deals from garage sales and resells them for a profit on Craigslist.

I have to wonder about the whole nature vs. nuture thing about kids like this. Certainly having a real estate agent for a mother helped in this example, but so I doubt that in itself is enough. In my idle daydreams, I think it would be cool to start some sort of farmer’s market stand with my kids to show them some business basics. From the Ellen Show:

More: DailyMail, Inside Edition

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  1. I love these kids who think different and take the leap to make things different.. She is really a go-getter…

    Good for her..

  2. Wow, good for her. That is a great ROI. Would have been a better ROI if her mother had let her use some leverage by getting a bank loan. Nevertheless, good for her.

  3. In theory sounds like a good property. I always get suspicious when someone claims they just found a 70% yield rental property though. Something’s very weird about that deal.

  4. Kurt @ Money Counselor says

    Very cool. A great example of ingenuity and how creative entrepreneurs can profit even from disasters.

  5. Makes her money clearing out foreclosed houses and reselling anything with value. Very feel-good indeed. In all seriousness though, I’m also very suspicious about these types of stories. The bank let a property go for $12,000.00 when the monthly rental alone is $700.00?

  6. So Ellen just gave her a $10,000 gift card and a $2,000 dryer. That girl should just sell both of those and go buy another house!!

  7. If you use Zillow and poke around Port Charlotte, FL, you can find lots of houses for sale around $50,000 and a LOT of foreclosures. If the house was truly a dump or squatter house, the number is not unfathomable. It might be that finding a stable $700 a month rent is the tougher part!

    @Ryan C – Exactly what I was thinking! Why put such a nice dryer in a rental unit.

  8. Here’s a pending unit listed for $17,000 in Port Charlotte for 2bed/1bath.

  9. Great story. For those with suspicions, you have to remember what wasn’t mentioned is the cost of the repairs she made to the property. That would decrease her ROI. However, with experience clearing out foreclosed homes i bet she was thrifty in her repairs and is still making a killing (relatively speaking). Good for her.

  10. For you guys saying it’s too good to be true on buying a property for $12000 and renting it out for $700, let me tell you about one of my properties:

    I bought at $25K and figured I could rent at $300-$400/month. Instead, I went section 8 and got $900/month from the government and the girl renting gave me an extra $100/month on top of that.

    Before I invested, I went on the internet seeking others’ opinions. Lots of long diatribes why it would be foolish to buy the property. Luckily I went with my instincts and I’ve since long sold that property and used it to turn a considerable sum into a ROTH.

    This can be done.

  11. Mike Crosby, why would you sell it if it was getting you $1K a month??

  12. Maybe that was before the market crash…

  13. RE: Mike Crosby’s post
    I wouldnt sell it even if it went up to $100K in value! (unlikely), because thats still more than 10% returns.

  14. @xmasy … the 10% return is irrelevant at that point

    the market value is the market value .. if Mike thought the market topped out for his rental, its smart to get out now if you see a similar home(s) available again

    i would keep it just to keep it, however if money is tight its smart to get out and regroup .. take ur gains and re-invest

    the % is irrelevant, total profit $$ is the goal

  15. awesome story! Check out for when the baby grows up. Their organization encourages child entrepreneurism.

  16. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says

    Wow! What an inspirational story!

  17. You know what I keep wondering? How is the property titled? Clearly, the girl can’t own it because she’s not old enough and wouldn’t have the capacity to own real property. So, maybe her mom owns it? So, maybe there was a gift from daughter to mom of the money to buy the property and later mom will have to gift it back to the daughter? Hard to say.

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