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 specified period during your application process. This ensures that your interest rate will not rise during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will probably have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are several ways you can score the lowest rate. The more the down payment, the better your interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the life of the loan, 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 life of the loan. You pay more initially, but you will come out ahead in the long run.
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