A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a certain interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period of time while your application is processed. This saves you from going through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
Although there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are usually more expensive. A lender may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, like sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to opting for the shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you may be able to score the lowest rate. The more the down payment, the smaller the rate will be, since you will have more equity from the start. You might choose to pay points to reduce your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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