When you are promised a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a particular interest rate for a determined period while you work on your application process. This means your interest rate won't go up during the application process.
Although there are various lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are typically more expensive. The lender can agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than with a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a lower rate, besides going with a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can make, the smaller the interest rate will be, because you will have more equity from the beginning. You can pay points to bring down your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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