A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a particular interest rate and a specific number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This prevents you from getting through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
While there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
There are more ways to get a lower rate, in addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period. The larger the down payment, the smaller the rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to improve your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the life of the loan. You are paying more initially, but you will come out ahead in the long run.
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