When you are promised 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 your application process. This means your interest rate won't rise as you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones usually costing more. A lender may 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 higher than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
There are other ways to get a lower rate, besides going with a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will get you a better interest rate, since you'll be starting out with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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