The Guessing Game: Babies, Houses and Mortgages

Trying to predict when Baby #2 will arrive is like trying to predict where the mortgage rates are going: you could be right, but it would likely be a good guess rather than based on "science".

How can I say this? Well, my wife has been having signs of labor for days now. I really thought baby would arrive on January 12th. The day came and went. My wife thought January 15th. Same thing. Now I'm rooting for January 18th (because it would make it easier to remember my sister's birthday), but who really knows? It's a waiting game. We figured out after Baby #1 that "due dates" do not guarantee the arrival of a baby on that date. All we know for sure is that sometime in the next couple of weeks, we'll have a new family member. When it will happen is the surprise.

I feel a bit that way about mortgage rates. We know rates will go up, but we don't know by exactly how much and we don't know when they will "arrive" at their next high. We can guess, but it's all guesswork.

Frankly, I also feel that way about housing prices. With housing prices, we assume they are going to drop, but we don't know by how much and we don't know when the market will officially hit its lowest. We only know that it will at some point, since virtually all markets have some cyclical nature to them.

What makes the difference in all these scenarios? Well, planning sure helps! We may not be sure when any particular "blessed event" will occur, but we can certainly plan for it. And we can be doing all the right things while we wait. In the case of homes and mortgages, we can be sure that we are not signing up to buy what we can't afford, and that we get the best deal on the mortgage we have now. In our case, we have the baby's room all set up and the bassinet beside our bed, in preparation for our newest member.

Michael

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