A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a certain interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This keeps you from getting through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are more ways you can score the best rate. A larger down payment will result in a lower interest rate, because you will have a good deal of equity at the start. You can pay points to reduce your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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