Succeeding in the real estate industry can seem daunting, but not to Sidney Torres, serial entrepreneur, real estate developer and host of CNBC's "The Deed," which debuts Wednesday. The show follows Torres as he uses his money and expertise to help struggling property investors on the brink of losing it all.
Sidney Torres spoke with CNBC to discuss his path to success and explain why you don't need a fortune to make a deal.
When Torres first became interested in real estate, he was working in construction. "I was making around $40,000 a year because I was working overtime," he says, "but if you take my base pay I was probably making around $20,000 to $22,000 a year."
To find the right property to begin building his real estate portfolio, Torres drove around his hometown of New Orleans. One day he came across a reasonably priced property in an up-and-coming neighborhood near Tulane and Loyola University. He reached out to one of his mentors, his grandmother, to help establish a $40,000 line of credit.
"I begged her to do this deal," he recalls, but his now 96-year-old grandmother was not immediately impressed. She pushed Torres to submit a formal packet including a construction schedule and financial predictions.
In a July 2016 interview with CNBC, Torres describes this first deal in detail. "She questioned me on the numbers, which was actually a great exercise for me," he says.
When he finally convinced his grandmother and began the project, Torres felt the pressure associated his grandmother's trust in him. "I was nervous but I was also passionate at the same time," he says. "That passion helped me deal with being worried. It pushed me through."
Torres worked around the clock, even through Christmas, and did much of the physical labor himself. His due diligence paid off. "As soon as I finished that house, I ended up getting it appraised for $100,000 more than I actually had in it. I refinanced that house and I took that money and I bought another house next-door," he says.
Since his first flip, Torres has developed over $100 million in real estate and believes that others can achieve success the same way he did. "You don't have to have a bunch of money to get started in the real estate world," he explains in his more recent interview. "It really depends on surrounding yourself with a good mentor or mentors, and you know, learning how to do your homework."