A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to set a particular interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period while your application is processed. This means your interest rate cannot get higher during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will probably have a higher rate than you would 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 lowest rate. The more the down payment, the smaller your interest rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the life of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will save money, especially if you keep the loan for a long time.
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