When you're offered a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This ensures that your interest rate can't rise during the application process.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, 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 have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to opting for the shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you can attain the lowest rate. The more the down payment, the lower the interest rate will be, since you will be entering the loan with more equity. You can pay points to improve your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You'll pay more up front, but you'll come out ahead, especially if you don't refinance early.
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