A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to freeze a particular interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period while your application is processed. This means your interest rate won't go up while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones typically costing more. A lending institution may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, say sixty 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 choosing a shorter lock period, there are other ways you can get the lowest rate. The more the down payment, the smaller the interest rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You could opt to pay points to bring down your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To a lot of people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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