When you're offered a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate for a certain number of days for the application process. This saves you from getting through your entire application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Although there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are usually more expensive. A lender will agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, like sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher 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 larger down payment will result in a lower interest rate, because you will have more equity at the start. You might choose to pay points to improve your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the life of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you'll save money in the end.
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