When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a certain interest rate over a determined period while you work on your application process. This ensures that your interest rate will not rise during the application process.
Although there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are typically more expensive. The lender will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer period, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are several ways you can score the best rate. The bigger the down payment, the smaller your rate will be, because you will have more equity from the start. You could choose 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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