Locking in your Interest Rate
When you're promised a "rate lock" from a lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a specific interest rate for a certain number of days for the application process. This prevents you from getting through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
Rate lock periods can vary in length, our normal lock period is fifty-five (55) days, with the longer spans generally costing more. A lender can agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer span of time, such as 90 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be more than that of a rate lock of a shorter period.
More Ways to Get a Great Interest Rate
In addition to opting for the shorter rate lock period, there are other ways you can get the best rate. A bigger down payment will give you a lower interest rate, since 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 initially. To a lot of people, this makes sense and is a good deal.