A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a specific interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter period
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you can score the best rate. A bigger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, because you'll be starting out with a good deal of equity. You may opt to pay points to reduce your interest rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. To many people, this is a good option..
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