After Willow Tufano earned $6,000 from antiquing and selling items on Craigslist, the 14-year-old asked her mom if she could invest in half of a short sale in her home state of Florida.
Tufano earned the money from finding free items or deals online or at antique auctions and leftover furniture from foreclosed homes. She re-sells the items or gives them away on the "free" list on Craigslist. She says she could not have thrived in that business without the support of her parents and grandparents, who drive her around to pick up items.
With her saved money, she didn't want to buy or barter for another longboard skate board or Xbox. Instead she set her sights on a three-bedroom short sale of $12,000 that was worth about $100,000 at the peak of the housing market, as reported by NPR's Planet Money.
"If there's one thing I want people to know, it's that your age does not matter," Tufalo told ABC News. "If I can inspire another person my age, younger, that would mean the world. Whether it's buying a house, buying a car, or whatever. If you really work for it and put your mind to it you can do what you want to do."
Tufano's mother, Shannon Moore, is a broker who owns several rental properties with her husband. When Tufano heard that her mother was considering purchasing the home, she asked her mom if she could buy half of it with the hope of buying the other half eventually. Florida requires a minimum age of 18 to own property.
"She's always thinking, 'how can I skin the cat differently?'" her mother said. Tufano helped her mom fix up the home in Port Charlotte, Fla., and even helped the new tenants find a free bed and mattress. Tufano is splitting the proceeds from the rental income with her mom and says she will use that to buy out her mom's share.
Asked if she was considering a career in real estate, Tufano said she preferred investing. "I'm not so sure about real estate," she said. "But investing is really cool. You get to see a property that was a mess before and afterward see that it's beautiful. I suppose with real estate you can connect with people more, but I would probably prefer investing."
Tufano, who is home-schooled, said her favorite subject is American history, but dislikes algebra because she is "really, really bad at math."