When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a particular interest rate for a determined period for the application process. This ensures that your interest rate can't go up while you are working through the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones usually costing more. A lending institution may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, like sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a low rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can pay, the better the rate will be, since you will have more equity from the beginning. You might opt to pay points to reduce your rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. To a lot of people, this is a good option..
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