When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate over a certain number of days for the application process. This saves you from going through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has gone up.
While there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are usually more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in choosing this option, will most likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock period
In addition to going with the shorter lock period, there are several ways you are able to score the lowest rate. A bigger down payment will result in a reduced interest rate, because you'll be starting out with more equity. You can pay points to improve your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you'll save money, especially if you don't refinance early.
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