Certainly, you can lock a rate on an FHA loan. FHA loans have multiple lock-in options available for a wide range of time frames. Typically, you need to have an accepted contract for purchasing a home to lock in but there are quite a few lenders in the industry who offer some sort/variation of a “Lock and Shop” type loan whereby you lock in an interest rate while you shop for a property.
Once the property is identified and a contract has been accepted you have the remaining time period to close on the loan. Each lenders specifics and time frames can be different so you would need to make sure what you are dealing with. If you’re being told you cannot lock in on an FHA rate, you would probably be better served moving on to a different broker.
You are able to lock in a FHA loan rate whenever you see fit. Various lenders across the country allow for a 15, 30, 45, 60 or even 75 day locks. Hopefully your mortgage banker or broker follows interest rates in real time and understands the trend channels that are forming or have been formed. Working with a professional that does this will enable you to lock in at the right time getting you a much better interest rate than you originally had been quoted or even anticipated. Not to advocate this but some lenders allow you to cancel a lock or negotiate a new rate if the market drops in your favor.
FHA Loans are one of the larger mysteries for most borrowers, and even many loan originators who do not work with them on a regular basis.
An FHA loan is in essence no different than any other similar conventional product. FHA loans are simply insured by the FHA, and therefore have their own mortgage insurance premiums, and a few special guidelines and documentation requirements. These requirements can (and often do) slow the process down, your lender will offer the same lock periods for this product as they do for any other. Remember that the length of the lock period can affect your pricing, and you should be working with your loan officer to make sure you find the best one to suit your needs, without paying for more than your loan will require.