When cleaning up credit & paying off old debts, is it better to pay debt in full or can I pay a settlement fee?

My husband has two old debts, each about 3-6 years old. It would be easiest on us financially to pay the reduced settlement on these debts than to pay in full. How would paying the settlement fees on the debts vs. the full balance affect his credit score? Keep in mind, our goal is to but a home in the next 6 months & hope to bring his credit score up as best possible & as quickly as possible.

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