A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a specific interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period of time during your application process. This keeps you from going through your entire application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer spans generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter period
There are other ways to get a low rate, in addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period. The bigger down payment you make, the smaller your interest rate will be, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You might choose to pay points to reduce your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to improve the rate over the life of the loan. You will pay more up front, but you'll come out ahead, especially if you don't refinance early.
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