A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a particular interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period while your application is processed. This saves you from going through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
Although there can be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are typically more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are other ways you can score the lowest rate. The larger down payment you pay, the better the interest rate will be, because you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to improve your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to reduce the interest rate over the life of the loan. You will pay more initially, but you'll save money, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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