When you are offered a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This means your interest rate won't grow as you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer period usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to choosing a shorter lock period, there are more ways you can attain the lowest rate. A larger down payment will give you a better interest rate, since you'll be starting out with more equity. You can pay points to reduce your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the term of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you will come out ahead in the long run.
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