When you're offered a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on the application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will probably have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
In addition to opting for a shorter lock period, there are more ways you can get the lowest rate. The bigger the down payment, the smaller your interest rate will be, as you will be entering the loan with more equity. You can pay points to lower your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to reduce the interest rate over the life of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will save money, especially if you don't refinance early.
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