When you're promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate over a determined period while you work on the application process. This saves you from working through your whole application process and learning 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 longer spans are typically more expensive. A lending institution will agree to lock in an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
There are other ways to get a reduced rate, besides going with a shorter rate lock period. The bigger down payment you can make, the lower your rate will be, as you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to improve your interest rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. For a lot of people, this is a good option..
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