Lock & Shop 101: How Does It Work?

House with for sale sign out front

Getting a good mortgage rate can be compared to sailing through choppy waters. Just when you think you’ve found smooth sailing, the winds change and rates go up. Fortunately, increasing rates don’t have to push your ownership dreams out of reach. With FirstBank Mortgage’s Lock and Shop program, you can lock in a rate while searching for the perfect place.

Why Lock and Shop?

Numerous factors influence mortgage interest rates such as economic conditions and housing demand. When rates go up, mortgage payments can increase and purchasing power decreases. In other words, you get less house for your money. 

Locking the mortgage rate, however, shields you from potential rate increases during your home search – keeping your purchasing power intact.

How Does it Work?

It’s important to act fast once you’ve found a favorable rate. A rate lock secures your rate for a generous 90 days while you search for a home. A reservation fee is required to lock in your rate.

But what if you need more time? No worries. For an additional fee, typically a percentage of the loan amount, you can extend the lock period to 120 days. This provides extra breathing room in your house hunting journey.

What Are the Benefits?

A rate lock does more than protect against an increase in mortgage rates, though. This program is flexible on both sides, so you can also take advantage of decreases.

Let’s say you lock your rate, and then news breaks of an impending rate drop. Instead of kicking yourself for not waiting to lock, there’s the option to “float down” to the lower rate at no extra cost. It’s like having a safety net for your mortgage rate.

Also, the reservation fee is fully refundable under certain circumstances. For example:

• if your loan closes within the 90-day lock period
• if your application is denied, or
• if mandated by State law

Is it Right for You?

While the Lock and Shop program offers undeniable advantages, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your unique situation.

Before locking, ask yourself the following questions:
1). Am I confident in my ability to find a suitable home within the lock period?
2). Do I anticipate interest rates increasing in the near future?

Keep in mind, too, this program can only be used for owner-occupied purchases and not investment properties.


In real estate, timing is everything. FirstBank Mortgage’s Lock and Shop program is a valuable tool for homebuyers seeking stability and peace of mind. You can shop for your home without worrying about a rate increase.

With the added benefits of rate adjustments and refundable fees, it’s a win-win in today’s unpredictable market.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards homeownership, consider the Lock and Shop program and protect yourself against a rate increase. To learn more, contact our local loan experts.

We’re here to help. Anytime.

Have questions? Contact us for neighborly advice.

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