A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to lock in a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans typically costing more. The lender may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are several ways you are able to attain the lowest rate. A larger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, since you will have more equity at the start. You may opt to pay points to lower your interest rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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