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How I saved $110 a month on my home loan with 1 phone call

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My lender passed on all the rate rises to me but lowered the interest rate for new customers. All I had to do was ask for the same.

Like most borrowers in Australia, my home loan's interest rate has almost doubled in the last 12 months.

Every month that the RBA lifted the cash rate, my lender responded with a matching rate rise. That's life on a variable rate home loan. No harm, no foul.

But then my lender started lowering its interest rates. Not for loyal, long-term customers like me. Just for new borrowers.

Suddenly I – a guy who does nothing but tell people to get a better deal on their home loan – was 33 basis points worse off than a new borrower signing up to an identical loan. Not for the first time either.

This is not a small difference. With a loan amount of $550,000 and a rate of 4.92% I was paying almost $3,000 a month (numbers here are examples and not my actual loan details, obviously!).

By getting this down to the lender's lower rate of 4.59% I'm saving $111 a month. In a year that's $1,332.

Calling my lender and asking for a better deal

It took me about 30 minutes to get the same low interest rate. All it took was one phone call.

This was all I said: "Hi, I have a variable rate owner-occupier loan with a rate of 4.92%. But I can see the same loan advertised on your website with a rate of 4.59%. Can you get me on that lower rate?".

The customer support person asked for a few quick identification details (name, account number, phone password) and that was that. I received confirmation of the rate change the next day by email.

If you want to do the same thing, here are some tips:

  1. Log in to your loan account via your lender's website and check your current rate. Or you can check your latest home loan statement.
  2. Then look at your lender's website. Find its current rate for the same loan as yours. Make sure it is the same. If you have an investment loan you can't ask for the low-rate owner-occupier rate offer.
  3. Call your lender. And that's all there is to it. Explain you want the lower rate you've found on its website. Use our handy negotiating script if you're not confident over the phone. And don't take no for an answer.
  4. If this doesn't work, threaten to refinance. Ask for a mortgage discharge form and say you'll take your business elsewhere. This will most likely work. And if it doesn't: find a better deal and switch.

For me, I'm happy with my new low rate. It's one of the market's best deals for the type of loan I want. And while it's annoying that I've had to call the lender twice now to get its lowest rate, it's worth the effort.

Home loans are higher now, but you can always find a better deal. Check out some of the lowest home loan rates on the market.

Image: Getty Images

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