A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a certain interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period of time during your application process. This prevents you from getting through your entire application process and discovering at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
While there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you are able to get the lowest rate. A larger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, because you'll have more equity at the start. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. 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 will come out ahead, especially if you don't refinance early.
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