When you are offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a set interest rate over a certain number of days for your application process. This saves you from getting through your whole application process and finding out at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones typically costing more. The lending institution can 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 that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to opting for the shorter lock period, there are several ways you are able to score the lowest rate. A larger down payment will result in a reduced interest rate, because you're starting out with a good deal of equity. You could opt to pay points to bring down your interest rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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