A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a particular interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This ensures that your interest rate cannot go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter period
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you may be able to attain the best rate. The bigger down payment you can pay, the better the rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You may choose to pay points to lower your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You pay more up front, but you will save money, especially if you keep the loan for a long time.
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