When you are offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a specific interest rate over a certain number of days for the 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 spans usually costing more. The lender will agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you can attain the best rate. The bigger down payment you make, the better your rate will be, as you will have more equity from the beginning. You could opt to pay points to lower your rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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