A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a certain interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This ensures that your interest rate will not rise as you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period usually costing more. The lender will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you can score the best rate. A larger down payment will give you a reduced interest rate, since you'll have more equity at the start. You might opt to pay points to bring down your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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