How to ask your lender for a home loan rate reduction

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on March 15, 2021
How to ask your lender for a home loan rate reduction

Home loan interest rates are plunging to the lowest levels in history so if your lender isn’t playing ball, don’t be afraid to demand a better deal.

By now you’ve probably heard that the Reserve Bank has once again cut the official cash rate, this time to an historic low of 0.10% - and if you haven’t where the heck have you been?!

But that doesn’t mean your lender will just automatically pass on the rate cut to you. Instead, most lenders are choosing to pass on the cut to fixed rate home loans, which suggests most mortgage-holders can only receive the rate cut by refinancing to these fixed rates.

This goes against previous cash rate changes when most lenders diligently passed on some or all of the cut to their existing variable rate customers.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender
Advertised rate Comparison rate* Monthly repayment Rate TypeOffsetRedrawOngoing FeeUpfront FeesLVRLump Sum RepaymentAdditional RepaymentsPre-approval

VariableMore details
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
VariableMore details
ZERO APPLICATION FEESFEE FREE OFFSET

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
ZERO APPLICATION FEESFEE FREE OFFSET

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
FixedMore details
USE A MARKET LEADING APP TO HELP YOU PAY OFF YOUR LOAN SOONER

Fixed Home Loan 1 year (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 80%)

  • Make up to $20,000 additional repayments per fixed term
  • Redraw available – lets you access any extra loan repayments you’ve made
  • Choose to rate lock for 90 days (fee applies)
USE A MARKET LEADING APP TO HELP YOU PAY OFF YOUR LOAN SOONER

Fixed Home Loan 1 year (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 80%)

  • Make up to $20,000 additional repayments per fixed term
  • Redraw available – lets you access any extra loan repayments you’ve made
  • Choose to rate lock for 90 days (fee applies)
VariableMore details
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • No application or ongoing fees.
  • 100% free offset sub account.
  • Fast online application, approval in minutes not weeks.
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card, Apple and Google Pay
  • Refinance loans and variable rates only.
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • No application or ongoing fees.
  • 100% free offset sub account.
  • Fast online application, approval in minutes not weeks.
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card, Apple and Google Pay
  • Refinance loans and variable rates only.

Rates correct as of January 21, 2022. View disclaimer.

In his speech after the announcement of the rate cut, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe urged borrowers to consider changing lenders if they haven’t received a rate cut.

"The best outcome would be for standard variable rates to be lowered but if that doesn't occur I'm confident there will be pass-through occurring through people renegotiating and switching... I encourage everybody to go to their bank and ask for a better deal," Dr Lowe said.

“If they don’t give it to you, switch to a bank that will.”

If it’s been a while since you reviewed your home loan interest rate, you’re probably paying too much. Negotiating with your bank can be intimidating for a lot of people so here’s a step by step guide on how to ask your lender for an interest rate reduction on your mortgage.

How to ask your lender for a home loan rate reduction:

Do your research and compare other lenders' rates

Before you even get on the phone, you should take a look at what rates other lenders are offering and what rate your current lender is offering new customers. By doing this, you can see how your current loan stacks up and use this information to haggle for a better interest rate.

When comparing interest rates, don’t forget to look at the comparison rate (the true cost of the loan once fees have been taken into account). Looks can be deceiving - sometimes what looks like a really attractive rate can have a very high comparison rate.

Financial comparison websites like this one make it easy to see what rates other lenders are offering. A number of lenders are now offering home loans with rates below 2% while these are all the lenders who have so far taken rates below 2% in the wake of the most recent RBA cut.

Using an online mortgage switching calculator can be a great way to visualise how much money you could save by getting a lower interest rate, and give you extra motivation to demand a better rate from your lender.

Mortgage Choice CEO Susan Mitchell says it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening in the market.

“That way, if your lender, or other lenders suddenly announce a big change to their home loan pricing or incentives to join them, you can check to see if you benefit from the changes,” Ms Mitchell told Savings.com.au.

“It’s also important to remember that if you’ve fixed part of your home loan interest rate, you may still be able to renegotiate the interest rate on the variable portion of your home loan.”

Ring up your bank

Now it’s time to psych yourself up to make that phone call!

Money expert Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon provided Savings.com.au with this handy script from her book, Get Mortgage Free Like Me, to use in your phone call:

“Hi again, look I’m a long-time mortgage customer and I saw in the paper that the big banks are giving secret loan discounts of up to 1 whole percentage point. That means I’ve overpaid a stack and I’m annoyed.”

[They’ll probably then say] “Sir/madam, you already receive our maximum published discount for your loan size: 0.5 percent.”

You: “But that’s not 0.8… I know that on $300,000 loans ANZ gives a discount of 0.8 percent, NAB gives 0.85 percent and Westpac gives 0.9 percent. I’ve also discovered I could be paying below 2 per cent at a smaller lender, which would save me a chunk every month."

[They may then say] “Your custom is very important to us, so we’ll give you an extra 0.4 percent off to match our nearest competitor’s 0.9 percent. And we’ll throw in a case of wine.”

But they probably won’t (on either front). It’s no bad thing for you either. While the discount CBA admits to for a $300,000 loan is 0.5 percent research reveals that size loan with the majors is enough to trigger a 1.25 percent discount – if you are armed with rival offers and negotiate hard.

The key to nailing the phone call is to sound confident and the best way to do that is to have done your research before you pick up the phone. Tell your lender you’ve been shopping around and that you can see there are better deals on the market (and give examples).

Ms Mitchell says one trick that can work is to tell your lender you’re going to see your broker if they won’t lower your rate.

“Letting them know you have a broker is important as lenders know that brokers have access to a wide range of lenders with very competitive rates.”

And if you’ve only recently taken out a home loan, Ms Pedersen-McKinnon says you can still ask for a rate reduction.

“After as few as six months you should feel at liberty to ask for a mortgage discount - sooner if you see that there is a competitor offering a better deal or if your institution fails to pass on a rate cut.”

As for how often you should ask for a rate reduction, Ms Mitchell says every six to twelve months if you’re on a variable interest rate.

“It’s also a good idea to stay on top of what’s happening in the market. That way, if your lender, or other lenders suddenly announce a big change to their home loan pricing or incentives to join them, you can check to see if you benefit from the changes,” Ms Mitchell said.

“It’s also important to remember that If you’ve fixed part of your home loan interest rate, you may still be able to renegotiate the interest rate on the variable portion of your home loan.”

It’s important to stay on top of your home loan repayments if you want an interest rate reduction.

“It will be very difficult to negotiate if you’re behind or on a repayment pause,” Ms Mitchell said.

Call their bluff

If your lender isn’t willing to budge at all, telling them you want to sign a mortgage discharge form will show them you’re serious about getting a better rate.

Signing a mortgage discharge form means the lender is removed from your home loan and happens when you either pay off the loan in full or when you refinance.

Ms Pedersen-McKinnon says anything that shows you’re serious will be an important negotiating tool.

”Plus you'd do far better to shift anyway. The current cheapest variable loan in the market is now 1.77 per cent. So a ditch and switch is likely the very best way to go.”

Just remember, if you tell your lender you’re prepared to sign a mortgage discharge form, you had better be prepared to act on it too.

Be prepared to walk

Your lender may be willing to lower your interest rate but if it’s not competitive with other rates on the market and you’re still not happy, consider making the switch to another lender.

But before you switch, make sure you consider all the pros and cons of refinancing like break costs if you’re on a fixed rate and any other fees that come with refinancing.

If you’re sure refinancing is the right move for you, here’s our guide on how to refinance your home loan.

Savings.com.au’s two cents

With interest rates plummeting to the lowest levels in history, there’s no reason why you should still be paying a high interest rate on your mortgage. 

Refinancing your mortgage could literally save you thousands, so if you’re not happy with your rate, do your research and ask your bank to step up or switch.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Emma Duffy is Assistant Editor at Your Mortgage and  Your Investment Property Mag, which are part of the Savings Media Group. In this role, she manages a team of journalists and expert contributors committed to keeping readers informed about the latest home loan and finance news and trends, as well as providing in-depth property guides. She is also a finance journalist at Savings.com.au which she joined shortly after its launch in early 2019. Emma has a Bachelor in Journalism and has been published in several other publications and been featured on radio.

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