When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a certain interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This protects you from going through your entire application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans generally costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will probably have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock period
In addition to going with a shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can attain the best rate. The more the down payment, the better the rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You could choose to pay points to improve your interest 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 bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You pay more initially, but you will come out ahead, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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