You can save thousands of dollars on a mortgage or refinance with just one simple tip.

Some time ago, The Los Angeles Times  reported more than half of all people stop at one lender when they're getting quotes for a mortgage or refi. Bad idea.

In one example, the difference between the cheapest loan and the most expensive one for a customer was $75,000 over the life of the loan.

1 simple way to save thousands on your housing costs

Shopping around and getting multiple quotes is an easy way to save hundreds of dollars each month and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a loan.

The best way to approach getting a mortgage or refi is to shop with small local banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers. They'll typically give you a rate that's equivalent to a big bank, and they'll offer very large assistance on closing costs that can amount to thousands of dollars. If you're a first-time homebuyer, you'll want to read my advice specifically for you.

Shopping around is easy. I have a handy tool for you to get the job done. One thing is certain: If you want the highest combo of rates and costs (referred to as closing costs and points,) you'll typically find it at a big bank!

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Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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