When you are offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a certain interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on the application process. This means your interest rate will not go up while you are going through the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer spans usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
There are more ways to get a better rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will result in a better interest rate, since you'll have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to reduce your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this is a good option..
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