A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to hold a certain interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a specified period of time during your application process. This keeps you from going through your entire application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Although there might 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 most likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to opting for the shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you can attain the best rate. The bigger down payment you can make, the lower your rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to bring down your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you'll save money in the end.
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