When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate over a certain number of days for your application process. This prevents you from going through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are generally more expensive. The lending institution may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are more ways to get a better rate, in addition to agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. The larger the down payment, the better the rate will be, because you will have more equity from the start. You may choose to pay points to lower your rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. To a lot of people, this is a good option..
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