When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock span of time
There are more ways to get a lower rate, in addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you pay, the smaller the rate will be, as you will be entering the loan with more equity. You can pay points to bring down your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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