When you are promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This ensures that your interest rate cannot go up as you are working through the application process.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are typically more expensive. The lender may agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you can score the lowest rate. A bigger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, because you are starting out with a good deal of equity. You can pay points to bring down your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. To a lot of people, this is a good option..
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