A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to lock in a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a specified period of time while your application is processed. This means your interest rate cannot grow during the application process.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter period
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will give you a better interest rate, since you are starting out with more equity. You may choose to pay points to reduce your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to improve the rate over the term of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you'll come out ahead, especially if you don't refinance early.
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