A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to lock in a particular interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a certain period of time while your application is processed. This protects you from going through your whole application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally costing more. The lending institution may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can get the lowest rate. The larger down payment you can make, the lower your interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to bring down your interest rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For a lot of people, this is a good option..
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