When you are promised 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 ensures that your interest rate won't get higher while you are working through the application process.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are usually more expensive. 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 going with the shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you can score the best rate. A bigger down payment will result in a better interest rate, because you will be starting out with more equity. You might choose to pay points to bring down your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to improve the rate over the term of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you'll come out ahead in the end.
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