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Tycoon in the making
Still in college, real estate investor Saverio Fulciniti is a young man in a big hurry.
February 14, 2005: 10:16 AM EST
By Les Christie, CNN/Money staff writer
Saverio Fulciniti
Saverio Fulciniti

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Some people are ambitious from a young age. They're early onset entrepreneurs who can't wait to start making money.

Take Saverio Fulciniti, 21. He came to the Boston area as a three-year-old from Calabria, the region forming the toe of the Italian boot. His mother was returning to America, where she had lived from age nine until after high school. Saverio's father was strictly Italian and spoke no English when he immigrated, at 28, to the States.

He was a trained electrician though, and soon obtained a license to practice the trade in the United States. Saverio's mother made her career in real estate, first in sales, then in property management.

"Both parents have had a big influence on me," says Saverio. "My mother is a tenacious business woman. I think her tolerance for risk and her business skills have made me the business person I am."

Like father . . .

The immigrant work ethic rubbed off.

"I started working as soon as I could," Saverio says, "first in a supermarket when I was 14 and then in a Target at 16." He also toiled weekends and summers with his father and uncle as an electrician's apprentice. Even now, he acts as a private-function deejay and emcee.

During his freshman year at Northeastern University (from which he's scheduled to graduate in spring 2006) he started his own company called Level 5 Productions, which planned parties at local clubs and bars -- even cruise liners.

He says he made about $3,500 to $4,000 a month, but it was very stressful. He had other students working with him and they could be an undisciplined lot. "It's difficult trying to manage young college kids when you're just an 18-year-old yourself."

Saverio has a double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing and lived on campus for two years. "I wanted to spend the first years on campus." But he knew he wanted his own home after that.

His mother helped by finding a place for him to buy a condo 30 minutes from campus in Danvers, Mass. and with a little financial help at closing.

Saverio himself met the bulk of the expenses, a considerable undertaking for a 19-year-old. The price was $130,000, not bad for 500 square-foot, one-bedroom with an open layout, but his mortgage lender looked at his age and minimal credit and wanted him to put nearly 30 percent down to avoid private mortgage insurance. He wound up spending $37,000, a sum he had managed to save from his many jobs.

That deal went through in July 2003. Since then, judging from sales of comparable apartments in his 45-unit complex, he says his apartment is worth about $160,000.

Irresistable impulse

He thought he was finished buying real estate until after graduation. Then his mother ran across a very undervalued apartment in a complex in nearby Amesbury in July 2004.

"It was being shown by an out-of-town broker who didn't know that comparable condos were selling much higher," says Saverio. He and a partner, Chris Limauro, "got an agreement to buy it in less than two weeks."

They picked up the one-bedroom place for $82,500, not underbidding by too much because they were anxious not to lose the deal. They put in some cosmetic repairs new hardware,painting, recessed lighting and had an offer on the place a week later. They sold it in less than a month and netted more than $20,000.

They turned around and bought another condo, this time a two-floor, two-bedroom townhouse, for $122,500. This one needed a little more work. They refinished foors, painted, put in new carpeting, and did electrical work. They also put on a new deck and windows. They sold it for $166,500 a month later.

With winter coming, Saverio and Limauro slowed down. But they are eying condos at two more complexes. "We're trying to put together a five-unit purchase for a spring closing," says Saverio.

Looking toward the future

After he gets his degree, Saverio plans a career in commercial property finance. But his home town region is becoming a tough place to find investment properties. Building sales prices have outpaced rentals.

"Not many places in the Boston area can really generate cash flow," says Saverio.

In the meantime, he's in a co-op semester at school. Northeastern is a five-year program, in which students spend multiple semesters in the work force.

Right now, Saverio is working for a commercial mortgage broker, in addition to his property buying. He also will be going for his broker's license next month.

It may be tempting to think of Saverio as money conscious and frugal. But he is not a super saver by any stretch; he has very normal spending patterns for a college student.

There may be something in the name, though. Saverio is Italian for Xavier, a Spanish name that means "New House."  Top of page

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