A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a certain interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a certain period of time while your application is processed. This keeps you from going through your whole application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter period
In addition to choosing the shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you may be able to get the best rate. The larger the down payment, the better your rate will be, since you will have more equity from the start. You might opt to pay points to bring down your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You pay more initially, but you will save money in the end.
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