14-Year-Old Girl Buys Short Sale in Florida

Unlike most teenagers, 14-year old Willow Tufano is a foreclosure landlord.

After Tufano earned $6,000 from selling items Craigslist, the budding investor asked her Realtor mother, Sharon Moore, if she could buy half of a three-bedroom short sale listed for $12,000. In Florida, minors can’t buy real estate until they are 18, so Tufano and her mother purchased the property together, according to National Public Radio.

Willow earned the $6,000 by selling items she found in abandoned foreclosed homes, which she frequently toured with her mom. The three-bedroom, one-bath brick home in Port Charlotte, Fla., was worth about $100,000 at the height of the real estate bubble.

Together, she helped her mother fix up the home and has a renter paying them $700 a month,. Her return on investment (ROI) is 70 percent.

The $12,000 sales price that Tufano paid for this short sale was significantly lower than the average sales price of a pre-foreclosure property, both nationwide and in Florida, according to the RealtyTrac Q4 2011 U.S. Foreclosure Sales Report. The report shows that pre-foreclosure properties, typically short sales, sold at an average price of $184,221 nationwide and an average price of $118,163 in Florida.

Pre-foreclosures listings in Charlotte County, where Tufano purchased her property, sold for an average price of $82,772 in the fourth quarter, according to RealtyTrac. And even a sales price below $15,000 is not unheard of: a recent analysis of RealtyTrac data nationwide shows that several hundred properties in some stage of foreclosure have a list price below $15,000. A quick search in Charlotte County found this empty lot available via short sale with a list price of under $7,000.

Although likely younger than the average real estate investor, Tufano joins a growing number of investors buying foreclosed homes and other properties as investment properties. According to the National Association of Realtors, investment property purchases jumped 65 percent to 1.23 million in 2011, up from 749,000 in 2010.

The median investment-home price was $100,000 in 2011, up 6.4 percent from $94,000 in 2010, reported NAR’s 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey.

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