When you're promised a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a specific interest rate over a determined period while you work on your application process. This ensures that your interest rate won't go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer ones generally 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 period
There are more ways to get a good rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, since you will have a good amount of equity at the start. You could choose to pay points to reduce your rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to improve the rate over the term of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you'll save money, especially if you keep the loan for a long time.
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