Florida Teen Buys Second Home, Eyes Reality Show
After second purchase, teen turns focus to reality TV
Oct. 16, 2012— -- Willow Tufano spent yesterday with the family, gutting the interior of a home in Port Charlotte, Fla. Along with her mother and business partner, Shannon Moore, sister Iris, and grandmother, Roxanne, demolition is a family affair. Today, though, Moore and Tufano are tired.
"My arms are killing me," Moore told ABCnews.com from her family's home in North Port, Fla., just outside of Port Charlotte.
Port Charlotte is just where they invest together, not where they live, Tufano explained. The house they're currently renovating is the second the two have purchased together. Tufano and Moore's voices competed for dominance over speaker phone as they took time out for an interview Tuesday.
"The deals are better in Port Charlotte," said Moore.
"Port Charlotte is where the houses are that I can afford," Tufano clarified.
Willow Tufano might be a name you remember. She's been on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" where the host gifted her $10,000 to spend at Ace Hardware, in addition to a new clothes dryer. She's been interviewed by ABC's "World News" and NPR and even for a television show in South Korea. She's accustomed to television crews and media types clamoring for her attention, her mother says.
Why? Willow Tufano is 15-years-old. She was 14 when she asked her mother to help her buy her first house. By then, though, she already had big plans.
"When I was on Ellen in March, we had just put an offer on the second house. It was a short sale. It takes a really long time for the banks to get it together," Tufano said.
Moore owns her own real estate business where she also employs her mother Roxanne, but doesn't make any assumptions about where her daughter got her business acumen. When she first starting taking an even younger Willow along to look at investment homes, Moore says her daughter was bored. Eventually, though, Willow took an interest and began to pick up on the finer points of buying, remodeling and renting homes.
"On the MLS," Moore says, referring to the Multiple Listing Service that realtors can use to find properties, "most houses go for $40,000."
Tufano and Moore purchased their second home for $17,500.
"You can't get deals like that in the stock market," Moore said.
If you're wondering where the young Tufano fits into this business deal, rest assured it is not as silent partner. For several years now, Tufano has made her own money buying and selling furniture, electronics, skateboards, skimboards, and other items, among her friends and on Craigslist.
This past spring, she asked her mom if she could get in on a $12,000 short sale with her. They split the cost of the home and the renovations. Moore's name is on the title, but Tufano plans to pay back her mother's half. By the time she's 18 and can legally own a home in Florida, Tufano says she wants to own 10 homes.
Because she has been homeschooled through Florida Virtual School since she left her full-time school for the gifted in seventh grade, Tufano says she has the flexibility to buy and sell things and to work with her mom.
Thus far, the collaboration has been successful. Though they've just begun demolition, the family has already found someone to rent their newest property and are on the lookout for a third investment home. Tufano is also eyeing a foray into reality television.
"We're putting together a sizzle reel," Tufano said.
"We can't name any names, but there are major networks looking seriously into buying the show," said Moore. "Willow has a production company in LA."
The world seems to have its eye on Willow Tufano and such an extraordinary young woman probably deserves some attention. Don't tell Willow that, though. Asked if she was excited about the possibility of having a reality series about her, Tufano was quick to clarify.
"I don't want to say that it's just about me," she said. "It will be about all of us. My grandma, little my sister, and my mom."
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