A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a specific interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period of time while your application is processed. This means your interest rate won't get higher during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
There are more ways to get a better rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you pay, the lower your rate will be, as you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to bring down your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you'll come out ahead, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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