When you are promised a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a set interest rate for a determined period for the application process. This prevents you from going through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Although there might be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are generally more expensive. A lending institution can agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
In addition to going with the shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you may be able to attain the best rate. The larger down payment you can pay, the lower the rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to bring down your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that is a good option for many people is to pay points to improve the interest rate over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will come out ahead in the end.
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