A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to lock in a certain interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period of time while your application is processed. This prevents you from getting through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter span of time
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are several ways you may be able to score the best rate. The larger down payment you can make, the better the interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to lower your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will come out ahead in the long run.
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