The Case of the 14-Year-Old Homeowner

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
March 21 2012 1:56 PM

The Case of the 14-Year-Old Homeowner

Here's an amazing Lesser Depression success story. Willow Tufano, aged 12 or 13, started going to foreclosed homes and scooping up items for little or no money which she then resold around town. Over 18 months she saved up about $6,000 and then teamed up with her mom to buy a short-sale distressed property for $12,000. They fixed it up and are now renting it out for $700 a month which is a very nice profit even when you consider the sweat equity and such that went into repair:

This is presented as a feel-good story, which it sort of is, but it's also a great example of how dysfunctional American economic policy has been these past few years. You see here that given enough time, an economy will return to equilbrium—someone will do the work—but it's a very slow and difficult process and it involves lots of waste. In a healthy economy, these kind of opportunities simply shouldn't exist. In a sick economy, over time, people will find the opportunities and bring us back out of the depression. But we shouldn't need to wait.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.