National-World

Fifth-grader starts college fund by flipping house

Inspired by HGTV, backed by grandad

Madison Bue could have spent the summer babysitting or walking dogs for some extra cash.

But inspired by "House Hunters," a reality TV show on HGTV, the 11-year-old from West Salem, Wisconsin, figured the real money was in real estate. With financial backing from her grandfather, Bue bought a house and set about remodeling it.

She told the La Crosse Tribune that any profit she makes from flipping the property will go into a college savings account.

“She is the most determined child I have ever seen,” her grandfather, Cliff LeCleir, owner of Cental States Warehouse, said. “When she sets her mind on something she gets it done.”

Bue formed her own limited liability corporation, BueZoo and -- with LeCleir as a guide and mentor -- checked out more than a dozen houses before choosing a four-bedroom, two-bath house on La Crosse's south side.

“I was like ‘bam!’” she said. “We gotta get it. It just worked.”

She handled some of the renovations, such as landscaping and carpet and tile removal, herself. She hired contractors to carry out the tougher jobs. After an interview, Bue put her mother, Amanda Bue, on the BueZoo payroll, too.

“I thought she would be a good worker, as well as a ride to the house,” Madison said. “She’s done a lot. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Bue, who starts fifth grade at West Salem's Coulee Christian School this week, said it wasn't easy. After all, she takes dance lessons, and there are plenty of things an 11-year-old kid would rather do than spend the day pulling weeds or ripping out old carpet.

While she's not sure she'll do it again, she's confident none of her friends can say they spent their summer vacation flipping a house. 

“I am just really proud of myself,” she said. “Even though I am hot and sweaty and tired at the end of the day, I am really proud of all that I did that day. I’m excited to be able to tell my friends I accomplished this.”


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