When you're promised a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a particular interest rate over a certain number of days for your application process. This keeps you from working through your entire application process and learning at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones typically costing more. A lender may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
In addition to choosing the shorter lock period, there are more ways you can get the lowest rate. A bigger down payment will get you a reduced interest rate, because you'll be starting out with a good deal of equity. You can pay points to reduce your interest rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. For a lot of people, this makes sense and is a good deal..
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