What is a "rate lock period"?
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What is a Rate Lock?
A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to set a particular interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period of time while your application is processed. This ensures that your interest rate can't grow during the application process.
Although there might be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are generally more expensive. A lending institution can agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
Other Ways to Save on Interest
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are more ways you can score the lowest rate. The bigger down payment you make, the smaller your interest rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to lower your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to reduce the interest rate over the life of the loan. You will pay more initially, but you'll save money, especially if you keep the loan for a long time.