When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a set interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This saves you from getting through your entire application process and discovering at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will most likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter period
In addition to opting for a shorter lock period, there are several ways you may be able to attain the best rate. A bigger down payment will result in a lower interest rate, since you will have a good amount of equity at the start. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You are paying more initially, but you'll come out ahead in the long run.
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