Q: My husband and I are planning on selling our home in two years and building a new home on property we purchased 3 years ago.

I have been diligently paying down our credit card bills for the last 3 years (it feels like forever!) but I feel we would be better off financially if we went for a 24-month home equity loan to completely pay off the cards now.

Will a home equity loan negatively affect my credit score?

A: If you can trade non-deductible debt (that would be your credit cards) for deductible debt (your home equity loan), you’re generally better off. Not only will you pay less in interest, but you should will be able to write off the interest you pay if you itemize on your federal income tax return.

Paying off your credit cards should also help you improve your credit score. Just don’t cancel your credit cards once you pay them off — that can have a seriously negative impact on your credit history and score. Instead, keep them active, use them once in a while, and always pay your bills off at the end of the month in full, and on time.