When you are offered a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a specific interest rate over a certain number of days while you work on your application process. This keeps you from getting through your whole application process and discovering at the end that the interest rate has gone up.
Although there are several lengths of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer ones are generally more expensive. You can get a longer period for your lock, but in doing so, will likely have a higher rate than you would with a shorter rate lock period
There are more ways to get a better rate, besides choosing a shorter rate lock period. The bigger down payment you can make, the smaller the interest rate will be, because you will be starting with more equity. You might choose to pay points to lower your rate over the life of the loan, meaning you pay more up front. To a lot of people, this makes financial sense..
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