When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This ensures that your interest rate will not go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you make, the lower the interest rate will be, because you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to improve your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to reduce the interest rate over the life of the loan. You will pay more initially, but you'll save money in the long run.
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