A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a lender's promise to hold a particular interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a certain period during your application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and finding out at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period typically costing more. The lending institution will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period. The more the down payment, the lower the rate will be, because you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to bring down your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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