A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a specific interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This ensures that your interest rate can't go up during the application process.
While there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will most likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can score the best rate. The larger down payment you can pay, the smaller the interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You could choose to pay points to improve your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You are paying more initially, but you'll save money, especially if you don't refinance early.
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