When you're offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a set interest rate for a determined period while you work on the application process. This means your interest rate will not go up during the application process.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones typically costing more. The lender may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, say 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 more ways to get a reduced rate, besides choosing a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you make, the smaller your rate will be, as you will have more equity from the start. You can pay points to bring down your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. To a lot of people, this is a good option..
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