When you are promised a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a set interest rate for a certain number of days for your application process. This means your interest rate won't rise as you are going through the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period typically costing more. A lender may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, say sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are other ways to get a lower rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will give you a reduced interest rate, since you will have a good amount of equity from the beginning. You might choose to pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this makes financial sense..
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