There is "good debt" and "bad debt," said Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. According to his definition, "good debt" is when your tenants are paying it off and the government is not taxing you on it.
"When you buy a house, you are on the hook for that mortgage, but when I buy an apartment house my tenants pay the mortgage," said Kiyosaki, adding that he also benefits from the debt on the apartment building being amortized.
Kiyosaki has penned more than 26 books, including the Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books, which has been translated into 51 languages and is available in 109 countries. The Rich Dad Poor Dad series has combined sales of over 27 million copies worldwide.
"I use a lot of debt, and at today's interest rates I think I died and went to heaven," said Kiyosaki. "I am borrowing my butt off to buy real estate."
Kiyosaki said he prefers owning properties as opposed to buying shares of a publicly traded real estate investment trust, or REIT, which is a company that owns, and in most cases, manages income-producing real estate.
"The beauty of a REIT is that somebody else manages it for you, so they are managing your money," said Kiyosaki. "When I buy an apartment house I am managing the bank's money. It takes a different skill set to do what I do."
Kiyosaki said potential investors should take a class on real estate before buying up properties to manage, especially after what happened during the housing meltdown. He said property management is perhaps the most important thing to know because you are on the hook for that house.
"REITs are liquid. The trouble with real estate is that it is not," said Kiyosaki.
Finally, Kiyosaki said a potential investor should only purchase properties within an hour from his or her house.
"You have got to know what is going on in your neighborhood, in your market," said Kiyosaki.