Americans love a bargain, but when it comes to buying a house, they don't always get the best deal. Only 47 percent of all Americans compared lenders when shopping for a mortgage, according to a surveyof 2013 mortgage applicants by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The group found that even seemingly insignificant variations in mortgage rates can make a big difference in a family's finances. The esearch showed the rate on a 30-year fixed rate conventional loan could vary by as much half a percent point. The difference, for example, between a 4.0 percent and 4.5 percent interest rate translates into a savings of about $60 per month. Over the first five years of the mortgage, that saves about $3,500 in mortgage payments. And the lower interest rate also means that you’d pay off an additional $1,400 in principal in the first five years. Always smart to remember that the cost of a mortgage goes beyond the rate, there are closings costs and other fees to consider. Here's a link to a helpful guide to shopping for a mortgage.

Have you recently attempted to comparison shop for a mortgage? If so, send an email to my colleague,

- Jim Buchta

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