Q: I am very interested in buying a home, but am not sure if I am close to the process. I have perfect credit, about $15,000 saved, but I have about $9,000 in debt.

Do you think that I will be able to qualify for a home loan, or should I pay off my debt and save more money before I consider buying?

A: You’ve fallen into the classic home-buyer’s trap. You’re paying 16 percent or more on your credit card debt, while earning less than 1 percent on your $15,000 in savings. While it’s fantastic you’ve managed to save that much, you’re actually slowly going broke by paying so much in debt each month.

Take $9,000 and pay off your credit card debt today. Make sure you pay all of your other bills on time. Then, take all of the cash you would have spent on your debt, and plow it back into your savings account. In no time, your account balance will be right where it is today.

While you could probably qualify for a home loan now, you’ll have an easier time qualifying after you pay off your credit card debt.