When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a particular interest rate for a certain number of days for your application process. This prevents you from getting through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, anywhere from fifteen to sixty days, with the longer period typically costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in making this choice, will most likely have a higher interest rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to going with a shorter lock period, there are more ways you are able to score the lowest rate. The larger the down payment, the better your interest rate will be, because you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to bring down your interest rate for the life of the loan, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that is a good option for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you'll save money, especially if you don't refinance early.
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