A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period while your application is processed. This ensures that your interest rate cannot grow while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period generally costing more. The lending institution can agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are more ways you are able to get the lowest rate. The larger the down payment, the smaller the interest rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this is a good option..
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