How to Lock in a Mortgage Rate

OK. You've spent weeks, maybe months shopping around for a mortgage--filling out forms on the internet, waiting on hold on the phone, dropping off paperwork at the local office--but you've finally found a great interest rate with low upfront costs. Then, right before the closing, you get an unwelcome surprise: the interest rate has gone up, or you'll have to pay thousands more in points. How did that happen? While there's no shortage of unscrupulous lenders who try to pull the old bait-and-switch, there are also legitimate reasons why the terms of a mortgage may change from the time you get your quote to the time you're actually ready to buy. You can avoid the surprises, however, with a rate lock-in, also called a rate lock or rate commitment. Here's how.

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