Luczak Group - The Blog

Information for happenings in the Real Estate Market in the Pikes Peak Region... and some things we just find interesting!

Tips for Home Buyers

The Financial Corner March '18

Hello everyone. March is here and spring is around the corner! This is the third installment of twelve monthly blogs on financial information useful to buying or selling a home. This month’s Financial Corner topic is “Mortgage Rate Lock”. Hope it provides you with useful information.


A mortgage rate lock protects the borrower from mortgage rate fluctuations for the duration of the lock period. It means that your interest rate won’t change between the offer and the
closing, as long as you close within the specified time frame of your rate lock and there are no changes to your loan application. Mortgage interest rates can change daily, or even hourly sometimes. Rate locks are typically available for 30, 45, or 60 days and sometimes longer.


The upside of a rate lock is, if mortgage rates rises after the rate is locked the borrower will still get the lower rate. However, there can be a downside to a rate lock. It may be expensive to extend the lock if your transaction needs more time than you have the rate locked in for. And a rate lock may lock you out of a lower rate if rates fall after you get your loan offer, unless you included a “float down” provision in the original lock or rewrite the lock at additional cost.


When can you lock your rate? Buyers typically wait until a seller has accepted their purchase offer for a specific property. Also, other information is required to lock because the rate offered depends on the borrower’s credit score, loan to value ratio, the property type, market rates and other factors.


How long can you wait until you lock a rate (or how long can you float a rate)? In theory until the transaction closes, but practically speaking you want to lock your rate at least a few days to a week before closing to allow the lender time to prepare loan documents.


How much does a rate lock cost? Most times a rate lock isn’t associated with a fee - it’s associated with an interest rate. A longer rate lock period typically involves a higher interest rate. The interest rate difference between a 15-day rate lock and 60-day rate lock can be as little as an eighth or as much as a half of a percentage point.


If the rate lock period expires before closing, the lender might offer to extend the lock rate or you could end up paying the market rate which could be higher. If you decide to get a rate lock, you should make sure your rate lock agreement is long enough to cover the time until you close on your loan. Having an accurate estimate of when you will be able to close is very important when locking your rate.