When you're promised a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a certain interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This saves you from working through your whole application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gotten higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer spans usually costing more. A lender will agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, say 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to going with the shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you are able to get the best rate. A larger down payment will result in a reduced interest rate, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You may choose to pay points to reduce your rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For many people, this makes financial sense..
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