Mortgage rates change. You know that because you’ve been following them while your loan application is being processed. In fact, sometimes interest rates can change throughout a single day during volatile times. But regardless of what rates are doing, none of those rates are any good until you lock in your rate with your VA lender.
When a loan officer quotes a VA rate, unless you’re in a situation to lock, that rate is still “floating.” In order to be in a position to lock in a VA rate, there are certain things you must do beforehand. VA lenders won’t lock in your interest rate without specific instructions. What would happen if they did lock in your rate without you knowing about it and rates dropped in the meantime by another one-half percent. Would you be upset? Of course you would.
There are no universal rules that VA lenders must follow when locking in a mortgage but most VA lenders do have a few common requirements. You must have a completed loan application on file, your credit report must be reviewed and you have provided the VA lender with the documentation needed for a loan approval. Without any of this, you’re likely not able to lock in your loan.
That said, to put yourself in a position to lock, get your loan approved as early as possible. And if you have any questions about the lender’s lock policies, just ask and they will provide you with a written explanation about locking in a loan.