When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This means your interest rate cannot get higher during the application process.
Although there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are generally more expensive. The lender will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say sixty 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 other ways you can score the lowest rate. A bigger down payment will give you a better interest rate, because you'll be starting out with more equity. You could choose to pay points to bring down your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. For a lot of people, this is a good option..
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