A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to set a particular interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period of time during your application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are typically more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter span of time
There are other ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, because you will be starting out with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. 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'll pay more initially, but you will save money in the long run.
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