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 certain period of time while your application is processed. This means your interest rate cannot go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period generally costing more. The lending institution will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, say 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are more ways you are able to attain the best rate. The bigger the down payment, the lower the interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to lower your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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