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However, presenting a healthy credit package that won't make the underwriter nervous is a matter of balancing the big picture.Having several credit cards that you don't use can give you a sense of security.A clean credit history and the fact that you're current on your payments isn't the whole picture.When a lender takes a look at your credit report and sees credit cards with high limits, they take into consideration what your debt-to-income ratio would be if you were to max out those cards after the mortgage has been granted.But when you check your credit score, be prepared for a lower number than you might have expected.Whether you use or ever have used those cards, the high limits that are available to you will bring your score down a few notches.If that worst case scenario became reality and your monthly payments -- including your mortgage payment -- total more than 36 percent of your monthly income, you're unlikely to qualify for a loan.However, your debt-to-income ratio can be higher, up to 40 percent, depending on what type of loan you're applying for.

Fore tells readers two low-balance credit cards that are paid on time along with a secured loan like one for a car is the combination that will look good to lenders.

Yet the Credit Info Center advises that you should have three or four high-limit cards, carrying low balances on one of them and, of course, always paying on time.

When applying for a mortgage, you might proudly list the high-limit credit cards you own on your application.

After all, if all those credit card companies view you in such high esteem, they've put tens of thousands of dollars at your disposal, you might not consider yourself a credit risk.

Closing all your lines of credit isn't the answer to improving the credit picture you present to your mortgage lender.

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In her 2006 book "How to Buy a Home in Louisville Kentucky," Heidi Fore points out that having some open lines of credit shows lenders that you know how to manage your money.

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