A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to freeze a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This keeps you from working through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer period typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter period
There are more ways to get a good rate, besides agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will give you a better interest rate, since you'll be starting out with a good deal of equity. You might choose to pay points to reduce your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this is a good option..
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