When you are promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a particular interest rate for a certain number of days for your application process. This ensures that your interest rate can't go up as you are working through the application process.
While there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are generally more expensive. A lender will agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of fewer days.
There are other ways to get a lower rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you make, the lower the interest rate will be, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to improve your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this is a good option..
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