When you're offered a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate over a certain number of days for your application process. This protects you from getting through your whole application process and discovering at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer period usually costing more. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will likely have a higher rate than you would have with a shorter rate lock span of time
In addition to choosing a shorter rate lock period, there are more ways you can get the best rate. The larger the down payment, the smaller the rate will be, because you will be starting with more equity. You may opt to pay points to reduce your interest rate for the term of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. One strategy that makes financial sense for many people is to pay points to bring the rate down over the term of the loan. You'll pay more initially, but you will come out ahead in the long run.
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