A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to set a certain interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a specified period of time during your application process. This means your interest rate cannot go up while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 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 with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to opting for a shorter lock period, there are more ways you may be able to attain the lowest rate. The bigger the down payment, the lower the rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to improve your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to reduce the rate over the life of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will save money, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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