"Rate Lock" and other Ways to Get a Lower Interest Rate
Locking in your Interest Rate
When you are offered a "rate lock" from your lender, it means that you are guaranteed to get a specific interest rate over a determined period while you work on the application process. This means your interest rate won't grow during the application process.
Although there can be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the extended spans are usually more expensive. A lender may agree to freeze an interest rate and points for a longer period, like 60 days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than that of a rate lock of fewer days.
Other Ways to Save on Interest
There are other ways to get a low rate, besides opting for a shorter rate lock period. The bigger down payment you make, the lower the interest rate will be, since you will be starting with more equity. You can pay points to lower your interest rate for the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal..