After experimenting with a career in the music industry, Sidney Torres changed course and started working for a construction company. 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.
He profited from his first flip, used the proceeds to buy a property next door and never looked back. Today, the self-made millionaire has developed more than $250 million in commercial and residential real estate.
"What I've learned in the real estate game is that you always have to have an exit strategy," Torres says in a new mini-series, "60 Seconds with Sidney." "From the beginning of going into a deal it's important that you know, once I close on this property — if I do a little bit of repairs — can I get out of it and how much will I make?"
Yet very few people investing in real estate think about the end from the beginning, says Torres, who now helps struggling property investors on CNBC's "The Deed": "So many people get caught up on the buy and not looking at, 'What's the exit strategy?'"
"For me, when I go into a deal, I want to know that there are two or three different exit doors. Every deal that I go into — doesn't matter if it's a hotel or if it's a rental property or if it's a commercial space — I always want to know, 'What's my exit strategy?'" It could be, among other things, buying and holding for the long term, wholesaling the property or flipping the property.
If you want to have success in the real estate game, "do your homework on that and know how and where to get out," says Torres.
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