Mortgage Confidential: When and when NOT to pay down debt

Mortgage expert David Reed invites Walletpop readers to ask him questions about real estate financing. leave your questions in the comment section of this post.

Okay, I admit. There are those who will vehemently disagree with the premise of not paying down debt, I'm among them, but there are times when not paying down debt makes perfect sense when considering buying real estate and obtaining a mortgage. On the other side of that very same coin, it also makes sense to pay down debt for the very same reason: to help qualify for a home loan. What's up with that?

When debt-to-income ratios are too high for a particular loan program, then getting rid of some of that debt to help qualify is in order. But which debt? Revolving balances on credit cards do very little unless you substantially pay down a credit card balance, from say $10,000 to $5,000, but simply paying $1,000 or so will do very little to reduce the minimum monthly payment on that revolving account. That means the debt to income ratio will barely be affected.