Sidney Torres began his career in real estate at 20 years old. Torres was sweeping floors of newly constructed homes for a construction business when he got the idea to flip houses. He went to his grandmother for a loan…he didn’t have any money…and she told him to come back to her in 60-90 days once he’d figured out what he wanted to do. He did and his grandmother co-signed on a bank loan for $40,000. so he could buy a house to renovate and then sell it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Twenty years later, Torres is now the star of reality show, “The Deed”, developer of a crime fighting app called FQ Task Force that has revolutionized policing and reduced crime in New Orlean’s French Quarter and kickstarted the venture capital firm, IV Capital, that has already raised $40M to help entrepreneurs realize their potential and build their dreams. Oh, and by the way, Torres is now one of the richest people in New Orleans with a bank account in excess of some $300M.
Torres is committed to helping make better lives for communities. “The Deed,” a reality show that gives an insider’s view to the “real reality” of real estate investing, is one of his vehicles for helping to make better lives. “In reality, people involved with flipping houses don’t have any money to buy and renovate the house they want to flip. I didn’t when I started. These people go to their families, go to their friends, just like I went to my grandmother when I started out.” Then Torres works with the flippers, actually invests his own money, expertise and time/labor into the project in exchange for a piece of the property and a percentage of the profits. His goal…to make deals that benefit all constituents.
Picking the “right” properties is key to successfully flipping houses, according to Torres. “Look for properties in up and coming neighborhoods, neighborhoods that are in the ‘sweet spot’ between being hot and fringe,” advises Torres. And the best way to find those best properties in sweet spot neighborhoods, “…write letters to the homeowners in those neighborhoods. Write as many letters to homeowners as you can. I used to write 30 letters a week saying something like, ‘Your property fits the criteria for properties I’d like to rehab. If you’re interested, call me.’ Of course, I knew everything I could about those neighborhoods, the schools, if it drains well after a rain, the trash schedule, etc., before I wrote those letters so I knew what I was talking about ahead of time. Reaching out directly to homeowners gives you the opportunity to jump on the properties that aren’t listed. That’s a big leg up,” said Torres.
One group of flippers Torres has already helped says that he stops at nothing to make the deal happen. “He’ll do the work himself,” said one flipper. “He’s tireless,” says another. “He’s the type of guy who looks around, sees the situation, figures out what he can do to help improve it and goes for it.” There’s a reason Sidney Torres is a “rags to riches” story. He also helps create those same sort of stories with and for other people as well.