A rate lock is a lender’s promise to guarantee a certain interest rate and number of points for a specified period of time while your application is processed. This prevents any surprises should rates and terms change. In addition, it protects you from going through the application process again.
A rate lock period can vary in length, however; usually, it’s for 30 or 60 days. In a longer period of time, the rate and the points could be higher than with a shorter rate lock period.
If you are trying to get a lower rate, however; there are better ways of doing it. The main way is to come in with a larger down payment, because you’re starting out with more equity. You can pay points to lower your rate over the life of the loan, but that means you pay more up front. For many people, this makes sense and is a good deal.
Of course, the very best way is to have a high credit score, and you do this by paying your bills on time, and being responsible with credit. In fact, if you’re in the top 10% of borrowers, you’ll be assured the best rates in the industry.