When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a set interest rate for a certain number of days for your application process. This means your interest rate will not grow during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones usually costing more. A lending institution will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to opting for a shorter rate lock period, there are several ways you are able to get the lowest rate. The larger the down payment, the lower the rate will be, because you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. To many people, this is a good option..
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