A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to lock in a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period during your application process. This prevents you from getting through your whole application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will most likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter period
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are several ways you can get the lowest rate. The larger the down payment, the smaller your rate will be, as you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to lower your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you'll save money, especially if you don't refinance early.
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