When you are promised a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This means your interest rate can't grow while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period usually costing more. A lending institution will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you may be able to score the lowest rate. A larger down payment will give you a reduced interest rate, since you'll have a good deal of equity from the beginning. You could choose to pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. To a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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