When you're promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a certain interest rate for a certain number of days for the application process. This protects you from going through your entire application process and finding out 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 extended ones are typically more expensive. A lender may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period. A bigger down payment will result in a reduced interest rate, because you will have a good amount of equity from the beginning. You can pay points to improve your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more initially. One strategy that makes financial sense for some is to pay points to bring the rate down over the life of the loan. You are paying more up front, but you will come out ahead, especially if you keep the loan for the full term.
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