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A Great 14-Year Old Entrepreneur

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Yesterday J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy passed along a great video clip on Facebook. Ellen DeGeneres had a 14-year old young lady, Willow Tufano, on her show who bought a house. Turns out that the clip is nearly 18-months old, but it's still a great story. Here it is:

If you don't have time to watch the video here's the short story. This girl (feels like I should call her a woman, right?) made $6,000 by buying and selling stuff on Craigslist. Some of the stuff she got for free as trash that others were throwing away. She found a $100,000 house that was a short sale for $16,000. She negotiated that down to $12,000 and went in as 50-50 business partners with her mother to buy it outright. She fixed it up and now rents it out at $700/mo.... or $8,400 a year. That's enough to buy out her mother's share in a year.

I get the feeling that some of you will be nit-picky, so I will too. Obviously, the deal on the house is incredible. It's unheard of to get a deal that's 16 cents on the dollar... and it takes some stones to try to negotiate that down to 12. It helps that it is in Florida that was perhaps hit hardest by the housing market crash. Outside of Detroit, I don't know if there are many places where this can be pulled off. Secondly, I don't what money she used to fix up the house. It looked like it received a new kitchen and the exterior was painted. Third, one could make a valid argument that she only bought half a house and that her mother bought the other half.

I'm not going to focus on any of that though. Let's focus on the fact that this girl found a way to make a decent (mostly) passive income in a tough economy. She owns a piece of real estate outright, without a mortgage, which is something that I haven't been able to do at 37. (Of course I'm a big fan of mortgages due to the really low interest rates.) Her income in 18 months is going to be more than what she paid for the house.

There's something that Ellen did in the video that I think many people might miss. First she gave the girl a new dryer, which is something she needed for the house. That's nice of her, but it's nothing special for these type of shows. However, the $10,000 gift card from Ace Hardware is worth noting. It wasn't just a gift of cash that she could go spend at the mall (not that I think this girl would). It was something that a landlord would find very helpful, which is something that encourages her do this again. Ellen even worked in the Ace Hardware slogan, so they got their $10,000 worth in advertisement (and maybe a couple of dollars worth of me mentioning it here). In a world of DVR and skipping over commercials, this product placement-type advertisement is smart indeed. It all adds up to a nice win-win-win, for the girl, the Ellen show, and Ace Hardware.

Update: It looks like Willow did buy a second home just a few months after this aired. And she's now looking into a reality show. You can see the trailer for it here.

You may remember me writing about Abigail Martin and her $500 wedding. At the time I called her my hero. Today, I add Willow Tufano to that list. A few more of these stories and I'll have to come up with a Lazy Man Hall of Fame of Amazing People.

Posted on November 26, 2013.

This post deals with:

... and focuses on:

Entrepreneurism, Real Estate

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3 Responses to “A Great 14-Year Old Entrepreneur”

  1. Donny Gamble says:

    This shows you that anyone can be successful with a little bit of hard work and effort.

  2. […] Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes A Great 14 Year Old Entrepreneur – You may remember me writing about Abigail Martin and her $500 wedding. At the time I called […]

  3. Matt says:

    Wow that`s amazing! The part that really strikes me about this story isn`t the fact that she made a lot of money at a young age. She isn`t the first kid to make lots of money, many have made a lot more than her. But she made this money with common products and in some cases even trash.

    She definitely belongs in that hall of fame of yours.

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