"Rate Lock" and other Ways to Get a Lower Interest Rate
Freezing the Rate
A rate "lock" or "commitment" is a promise from the lender to freeze a specific interest rate and a particular number of points for you for a specified period while your application is processed. This ensures that your interest rate will not get higher while you are working through the application process.
Although there can be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are usually more expensive. The lending institution can agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
More Ways to Get a Great Interest Rate
In addition to choosing the shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can get the lowest rate. The larger the down payment, the smaller the rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You could choose to pay points to improve your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this is a good option..