When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate for a certain number of days while you work on the application process. This means your interest rate will not go up during the application process.
Although there can be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are generally more expensive. The lender will agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as 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 going with the shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you may be able to score the lowest rate. The bigger down payment you make, the smaller the interest rate will be, as you will be entering the loan with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you'll save money in the long run.
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