Hello Everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster, and hopeful I can connect with others starting out on this journey. I wanted to get advice from those in this community about my situation. I recently decided to focus all my energy when not working my day job on learning about real estate investing. 

After a few months of reading, this is what I have gathered:

I would like my first investment property to be a duplex or triplex

I prefer it is within 100 miles of my house, as I don't think I have the risk appetite and certainly not the network needed out of state (I live in FL)

I own a primary home currently, however have roughly $90,000 in non-Real Estate debt that I would like to eliminate before investing (some from a previous marriage/some credit card/a car loan/student loan)

I make decent money on my job, however my aggressive goal is to add one property (2-4 doors each property) per year, every year this decade. If I am able to accomplish this, I feel the passive income generated will allow me to be in a prime position regarding retirement.

A few questions:

1. I have heard and read the pros/cons of paying off your debt before investing in RE. Is there a consensus here?

2. While it is a sellers market, I know that the deals I want will likely not be on the MLS. If my plan is to buy and hold, does it "matter" if I pay a little more on the front-end?

Thank you all in advance, and excuse the follow up questions that may come from replies.