Regardless of the reason, this hesitation to shop around and conduct additional research could end up costing buyers “thousands of dollars more,” the Zillow report noted. 

“Home buyers should take the time necessary to make an educated decision on their mortgage,” said Libby Cooper, vice president of Zillow Home Loans. “It’s often the largest financial decision someone makes. Taking time to understand their credit report, repair any issues and consult with a qualified mortgage professional can make a significant difference in a home shopper’s experience.”

Only 13% of prospective buyers said they spent at least a month researching mortgage lenders before applying, according to Zillow’s survey. By comparison, 28% said they spent the same amount of time researching vehicles they were planning to purchase and 23% said they spent that much time planning their vacation before booking.

Additionally, 34% of prospective buyers said they did not spend time preparing before they applied for mortgage pre-approval, mortgage pre-qualification, or a mortgage, while nearly half (49%) said they spent less than a year on preparations such as improving credit scores or saving for a higher down payment.

“Buyers often don’t understand that a loan officer can be a partner in the home-buying process,” added Cooper. “They help discuss options and find the right fit for a customer’s personal financial situation.”