A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a specific interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This means your interest rate cannot go up during the application process.
While there might be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will probably have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter span of time
There are other ways to get a better rate, besides choosing a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will give you a reduced interest rate, since you are starting out with a good deal of equity. You can pay points to bring down 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 term of the loan. You pay more initially, but you'll come out ahead in the long run.
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