Guided Investor

Negotiating a better interest rate

It’s sad, but there really is no customer loyalty in the banking system. Chances are, if you have had your mortgage with the same lender for a few years, you probably aren’t getting their best rate.

Banks typically won’t offer existing customers their most competitive rate, you have to fight for it. In order to win that fight, there are certain things you need to know and say. This article will give you the tools necessary to win the battle with your bank and get a better rate.

Ensure you’re on a variable rate

Before you jump on the phone, guns blazing, there are a few things you need to understand. Firstly, your existing loan needs to be a variable loan. If you have a fixed loan then you have no chance of negotiating a better rate until the fixed rate has expired. When signing up for a fixed loan, you agreed to a set period of time.

Calculate your LVR

Next, walking into this fight, you need to know what your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) is. Your LVR is the ratio of the value of your loan to the value of your house. To calculate this you simply divide your loan balance by the current market value of your house and multiple by 100 to get a percentage. The formula looks as follows:

LVR = Loan balance / Property value x 100

To be in a strong position to negotiate your rate, your LVR should be less than 80%. This is the magic number which means you are a low risk client to the bank.

If your LVR is above 80%, the lender sees you as high risk and they justify this risk by giving you a higher interest rate. Also, they know that if your LVR is above 80%, you’re not likely to move lenders because doing so would likely incur lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). This is an additional cost which 9 out of 10 times renders the benefits of refinancing to a lower rate null and void.

It’s not impossible to negotiate a better rate if your LVR is above 80% but you’re not in a very strong position to be negotiating. Feel free to have a crack regardless!

Understand the market

Finally, you need to know what a fair rate is in the current market. Good old google has your back here. Simply type into google “best mortgage rates Australia” and a number of comparison sites will come up for your perusal.

Note down what a competitive rate is, which lender is offering it, and have this information handy for your call.

You’re ready to make the call

Armed with your new knowledge of LVRs and rates, you can now get on the phone to the bank.

To get the conversation started you can simply say something along the lines of “Hi, I have been doing some research on mortgage interest rates and I believe I am paying to much. Can you please review my current rate?”.

With any luck, that will be all you need to do! If the person on the other line is feeling helpful, hopefully this will be enough to get the ball rolling. However, if you get resistance then you need to push a little harder.

Sometimes lenders won’t put their best foot forward unless they are forced to. Now by force, I don’t mean yelling and screaming, you simply need to show them in a calm, collected manner that you mean business and the one line that does this better than any other is…

“Can you please send me your mortgage discharge form?”.

A mortgage discharge form is your instruction to pay out the home loan and remove the lender from the title of the property. By requesting this form it shows the lender that you have done your research, you know what you are talking about and you are on the verge of refinancing.

If this doesn’t get you a better rate then chances are you probably won’t get one with your current lender and you do seriously need to consider refinancing. There is a lot to take into consideration before refinancing, which we won’t get into now, but you need to make sure the cost to refinance is justified by the reduction in interest rate. A Mortgage Broker can help with this.

Get your Mortgage Broker involved

If you took your loan out through a Mortgage Broker, the whole process is a lot simpler. Instead of you hustling the bank, your broker will do it for you. Simply call your broker and they can pressure the lender on your behalf.

A good Mortgage Broker will go through this process without you even asking. They typically receive a trail commission on the loan and therefore they will help you on an ongoing basis with regular reviews.

But that’s it! I hope this helps you get a better rate with your bank – sometimes all you need to do is ask. This really is low hanging fruit to help improve your financial position.

One last thing before we wrap this up, if you are successful with reducing your rate, keep your repayments the same. By keeping repayments the same, with a lower interest rate, you will accelerate the repayment of your debt. In fact, go one step further and consider additional debt repayments or a lump sum debt repayment.


The information in this website is for general information only.

It should not be taken as constituting professional advice from the website owner – Guided Investor as Authorised Representative of Symmetry Group (AFSL 426385)

You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your unique circumstances.

Guided Investor is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this document.

Brad Buters Financial Planner Perth

Brad Buters

Managing Director | Financial Adviser

Helping Australians achieve financial independence.

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