When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate over a determined period while you work on the application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and finding out at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer spans generally costing more. A lender may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a better rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. The more the down payment, the better your interest rate will be, because you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to reduce your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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