When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a set interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This protects you from getting through your entire application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended ones are generally more expensive. The lending institution will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
There are other ways to get a good rate, in addition to agreeing to a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can make, the smaller your interest rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to reduce your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To a lot of people, this is a good option..
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