A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to set a specific interest rate and a certain number of points for you for a certain period of time during your application process. This keeps you from working through your whole application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
While there might be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are typically more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will probably have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter span of time
There are more ways to get a low rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, since you'll have more equity from the beginning. You might choose to pay points to reduce your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For many people, this makes financial sense..
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