A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to set a specific interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period during your application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer spans usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
There are more ways to get a lower rate, in addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can make, the lower the rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to reduce the rate over the term of the loan. You are paying more initially, but you will come out ahead in the end.
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