When you're promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a set interest rate over a determined period for your application process. This protects you from going through your whole application process and finding out at the end that the interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can be various lengths of time, between 15 to 60 days, with the longer ones generally costing more. The lending institution may agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
There are more ways to get a reduced rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. A larger down payment will result in a reduced interest rate, because you're starting out with a good deal of equity. You can pay points to lower your 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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