Real estate wasn't always part of the plan for Sidney Torres.
"I thought I wanted to be in the music business," he tells CNBC. But after a brief stint as Lenny Kravitz's personal assistant, Torres changed course.
He started working for a construction company making $40,000 a year. It was then that, with help from his grandmother, he bought his first property in an up-and-coming neighborhood in his hometown of New Orleans.
Torres used the proceeds from his first flip to buy a property next door and his real estate career took off. Today, the self-made millionaire has developed over $250 million in commercial and residential real estate.
While Torres is adamant about staying on budget when flipping a property, there is one feature that is often worth the splurge: skylights.
Skylights can open up a dark interior kitchen or bathroom, and while they can "cost a little extra money, I think it pays off in the end," Torres says.
In general, he's always looking for ways to maximize the natural light available, whether that means installing floor-to-ceiling windows, simply making sure the bed in the master bedroom faces a window or adding a skylight.
Plus, there's an added perk that comes with skylights: Solar powered ones — and the cost of installing them — are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.