When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a set interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This means your interest rate will not go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter period
There are more ways to get a low rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. The more the down payment, the better your rate will be, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to reduce your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you'll come out ahead in the end.
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