When I was just starting out, I didn’t have much money to invest or purchase investment properties. And out of that necessity came creativity. This is probably why 100 percent of the properties in my portfolio I’ve accumulated over my career have involved some form of leverage. The shorthand for this among real estate investors is “OPM,” or other people’s money. Usually this refers to private or hard money, but in my own personal definition, I also throw in traditional bank financing because, after all, it’s not your money. For the most part, I believe mortgage debt or money borrowed to acquire and renovate property has been a wise investment for me on my path to success. I’ve purchased millions of dollars worth of real estate over the years with little cash out of pocket, which in turn has enabled me to achieve financial freedom and to take risks on other ventures and even grow my note business.

But what all this means is—I have some debt. Good debt, in my opinion. Debt that I can leverage, but also debt that can hinder me in other ways (such as qualifying for a traditional mortgage on my personal residence). I’ve come to work around this the past decade or so by renting higher-end properties to live in. But now wanting to settle down and purchase again, I had to sit down and take a hard look at my what I owe. By doing so, I’ve learned and devised some strategies to pay it all down—and some of it rather quickly. So, whether you’re just starting out, looking to minimize your debt, or you’re an old real estate warhorse like me looking to crunch it down quickly, these tips should help you reach your goals while you maintain or are on your way to financial freedom.

Related: What’s Better Financially: Paying Off Your Home Mortgage or Investing That Money?

1. Send Extra

I’ll start with the simplest of these strategies, and that’s just the idea of sending extra with each payment. “You can do that?” People often ask me, to which I reply “Why not!”

Although some banks and hard money lenders have a per-payment penalty fee if you were to pay extra on the loan, many don’t mind when you…