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 keeps you from going through your whole application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
While there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter period
There are other ways to get a better rate, in addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, because you are starting out with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. 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'll pay more up front, but you will come out ahead, especially if you don't refinance early.
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