Sidney Torres has made an empire out of flipping houses — and he's sharing his secrets

By Ale Russian
March 22, 2017 04:38 PM

Sidney Torres has made an empire out of flipping houses — and he’s sharing his secrets.

The multimillionaire entrepreneur is hosting a new show on CNBC called The Deed where he loans money to people who want to flip their house or building — and PEOPLE has an exclusive sneak peek at episode four!

In the clip, Torres encounters a major termite problem at one of the properties and realizes that the owners didn’t budget enough to deal with it. He tells PEOPLE that obstacles like that can happen when people don’t do their homework about the type of property they’re buying.

“You have to be very careful on the front-end to make sure that you really understand the market before getting into something like this and you get the right professionals to survey and inspect the property before you close on it,” Torres says. “In this case, they didn’t do that. They didn’t understand the magnitude of damage and the active termites that were still living in the property.”

Torres says this kind of problem happens all the time — and can be easily avoided. “It’s really important to hire the right people beforehand on the inspections to make sure that you know about all these things before you close and you transfer your money,” he says. “This is the kind of thing that can really mess you up.”

Tyler Kaufman/CNBC

And Torres knows what he’s talking about.

The Louisiana native got his start in the house-flipping business when he was just 20 years old after catching the bug while working for a construction company as the last person to get the property ready before it was handed over to the new owners. He asked his grandmother to co-sign a $40,000 loan for a property. Within three months, he had made enough to pay it back and take her name off the lease. His snowball success continued and he ended up building luxury hotels in the Bahamas and New Orleans as well as stepping out into other ventures that led to more than $250 million in investments made.

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But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the entrepreneur. Torres had a rough upbringing that included getting hooked on drugs in his teenage years and later working as Lenny Kravitz’s assistant before he was fired for falling off the wagon. Realizing he needed to make a change, Torres detoxed himself and started living a sober life and decided to focus on getting a job and growing a business.

Now, Torres is focusing his efforts on also giving back. After Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown of New Orleans, Torres lent his hotel to the first responders working in the city and provided housing and amenities for them to use. He then started a garbage company that cleaned up the streets of New Orleans after the hurricane that ended up making millions. And when disaster struck in Haiti, Torres once again rushed to action by using his cargo planes to ship medical supplies to the desolate island to help the locals.

Giving back is part of who Torres is — and he’s grateful for his amazing success. “I never thought I’d be where I am today,” he admits. “I’m so grateful and thankful about where I am today, I feel very blessed. I really love what I do.”

The Deed airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on CNBC.