A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to lock in a particular interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This means your interest rate can't grow during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
There are more ways to get a good rate, in addition to agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can pay, the better the interest rate will be, since you will be entering the loan with more equity. You might opt to pay points to improve your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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