Americans may be spending more time shopping for shoes than a mortgage, a recent report from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau suggested. Almost half of consumers seeking a home loan to purchase a home make a potentially costly mistake to not shop for lenders, the agency recently found.

Instead of contacting different lenders and comparing mortgage rates and fees, some consumers are paying more by sealing the home deal with the first – and only – lender contacted.

When people buy a home, they take time to shop around and compare different homes before making the ultimate decision.

Unfortunately, this is not the process that most consumers go through when they choose a mortgage loan. Instead, there is a tendency to latch onto the first knowledgeable individual offering a loan and assume that they are acting solely in your best interest. Recent history shows that this approach can cost you literally thousands of dollars.

Before the financial crisis and recent mortgage reforms, some lenders steered borrowers toward riskier and higher-cost loans because it financially benefitted the mortgage originator. Some mortgage originators used “yield spread premiums” to bump up mortgage rates in exchange for higher commissions, costing the consumer.

That was yesterday, and thankfully for the consumer, now it’s different. Thanks to new federal regulations that went into effect in January 2014, mortgage lenders offering traditional loan products today are ‘capped’ at charging you a maximum of 3 percent compensation for your loan.

But, buyer beware. That 3 percent cap is only on disclosed fees that are clearly shown on your loan’s good faith estimate. Banks and mortgage banks can charge more than that through what’s known as ‘service release premium,’ which they can adjust to increase their profits and pass along these costs to you.

It’s extremely important to understand that mortgage brokers, like Premier Mortgage Lending, legally cannot charge this premium like banks can. This makes a broker a good place for your buyers to start when shopping around for the lowest-cost loan.

The role of a broker is different than that of a bank. A broker acts as an intermediary between the borrower and the lending source, while a bank often is the lending source. Because brokers typically work with multiple lending institutions, they can connect your buyer to multiple mortgage products with varying interest rates and out-of-pocket costs.