When you are promised a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a certain interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This prevents you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter period
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you may be able to get the best rate. A larger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, since you will be starting out with more equity. You could choose to pay points to improve your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you'll save money, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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