When you're offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate for a determined period for your application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that your interest rate has gotten higher.
Although there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are usually more expensive. A lending institution can agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are more ways to get a good rate, besides choosing a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will result in a better interest rate, since you'll have a good deal of equity at the start. You might choose to pay points to lower your rate over the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. To a lot of people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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