When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate for a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
Although there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are typically more expensive. A lender may 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 with a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are more ways to get a lower rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, because you'll be starting out with more equity. You might choose to pay points to improve your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this makes financial sense..
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