It depends on who the investor is. Often (if the investor is using Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae guidelines), short term INSTALLMENT debts are not counted if there is less than 10 payments remaining. If it is a revolving account (credit card, HELOC, etc…) then the payment reported on the credit report will be counted regardless of the balance. If you pay the installment balance down to where there are fewer than 10 payments left, the investor will likely not count it against your ‘debt-to-income’ (DTI) ratio. Only paying a portion of the balance down will allow you to keep a higher balance in your checking/savings account that may result in a more favorable loan determination.