A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender 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 as you are going through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally costing more. The lending institution can agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, besides agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. The bigger the down payment, the smaller your interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this is a good option..
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