"Rate Lock" and other Ways to Get a Lower Interest Rate
Freezing the Rate
When you're promised a "rate lock" from the lender, it means that you are guaranteed to keep a particular interest rate for a certain number of days for the application process. This protects you from working through your entire application process and finding out at the end that your interest rate has risen higher.
While there may be a choice of rate lock periods (from 15 to 60 days), the longer spans are usually more expensive. The lender can agree to hold an interest rate and points for a longer period, such as sixty days, but in exchange, the rate (and sometimes points) will be higher than with a rate lock of a shorter period.
Other Ways to Save on Interest
There are other ways to get a reduced rate, in addition to going with a shorter rate lock period. The larger down payment you can pay, the better your interest rate will be, because you will be starting with more equity. You may opt to pay points to reduce your interest rate over the loan term, meaning you pay more up front. For many people, this is a good option..