When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a specific interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This prevents you from going through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
While there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are usually more expensive. A lender will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are other ways to get a lower rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will give you a reduced interest rate, because you will have a good amount of equity at the start. You may opt to pay points to lower your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You pay more initially, but you will save money in the end.
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