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Don’t Be Locked Out: A Guide to Mortgage Rate Locks

Don’t Be Locked Out: A Guide to Mortgage Rate Locks

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Don’t Be Locked Out: A Guide to Mortgage Rate Locks

House hunting is an exciting time, but navigating the world of mortgages can feel overwhelming. One term you’ll likely encounter is a “mortgage rate lock-in.” But fear not, this isn’t some newfangled concept! Let’s break down what a rate lock is and why it might be a good fit for you.

Mortgage rate photo

Locking in Peace of Mind

Imagine finding your dream home, but then interest jump just before closing. Suddenly, what seemed like an affordable mortgage becomes a bigger burden. That’s where a rate lock comes in. It’s essentially an agreement with your lender to guarantee a specific interest for a set period, typically 30 to 60 days. This shields you from market fluctuations, ensuring you get the quoted cost even if rates rise in the meantime.

Why Lock In?

Locking offers peace of mind. You know exactly what your monthly payment will be, allowing you to budget effectively. This is especially helpful in a rising rate environment.

Not Always a Lock

However, these aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you anticipate rates to fall, you might be better off waiting for a potentially lower rate. Additionally, it often come with a fee, so weigh the cost against the potential benefit of a locked-in rate.

Here are some additional things to consider:

  • Lock period:

    • Choose a lock term that aligns with your closing timeline.
  • Lock extension fees:

    • If your closing takes longer than expected, extending the lock might incur a fee.
  • Rate float:

    • If you choose not to lock, your rate will “float” with the market. This can be risky, but could be beneficial if rates go down.

Talk to Your Lender

A qualified mortgage lender can help you understand the pros and cons  in the context of your specific situation. They can also explain different lock options and fees. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Remember, a mortgage rate lock is a tool to manage risk and create financial certainty. By understanding how it works, you can make an informed decision that supports your homeownership journey.