A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to lock in a certain interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This means your interest rate cannot go up while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer spans typically costing more. A lender will agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are several ways you can get the lowest rate. A larger down payment will get you a better interest rate, because you will be starting out with a good deal of equity. You could choose to pay points to bring down your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this is a good option..
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