When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate over a determined period while you work on the application process. This protects you from getting through your whole application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally costing more. The lending institution will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, like sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to choosing the shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can get the lowest rate. A bigger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, because you will have more equity at the start. You may opt to pay points to lower your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this is a good option..
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