When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This protects you from going through your whole application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones typically 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 span of time
There are more ways to get a better rate, besides choosing a shorter rate lock period. The bigger down payment you pay, the lower the interest rate will be, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You could opt to pay points to bring down your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to reduce the rate over the term of the loan. You pay more up front, but you will come out ahead in the end.
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