A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a particular interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This protects you from working through your whole application process and discovering at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
While there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are typically more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter span of time
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you can get the best rate. A larger down payment will get you a better interest rate, since you will have more equity at the start. You might choose to pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you'll come out ahead in the long run.
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