A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a certain interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a specified period during your application process. This means your interest rate will not grow during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter period
In addition to choosing the shorter lock period, there are several ways you can score the best rate. The larger the down payment, the lower the rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to reduce your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to reduce the rate over the term of the loan. You will pay more initially, but you'll come out ahead in the end.
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