When you are offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a set interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This saves you from getting through your whole application process and finding out at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Although there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are typically 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 span of time
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are other ways you can score the best rate. A bigger down payment will result in a lower interest rate, since you will be starting out with a good deal of equity. You might choose to pay points to reduce your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the life of the loan. You will pay more initially, but you'll save money in the end.
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