If there was just one question which could save you tens of thousands of dollars, you’d ask it, right?

A survey carried out by Finder.com.au has found that almost half of Australian home owners don’t ask the very simple:  “Can I have a better rate, please?”

If they did, they would join the 77% who scored a rate reduction after haggling for a better home loan. Yes – 8 our of ten who asked got a reduction!

Of the almost 1300 homeowners with a mortgage that were surveyed last month, 9 per cent didn’t know they could ask for a discount, while a further 36 per cent simply did not bother.

That’s despite a good chance it could lead to additional savings.

Bessie Hassan from Finder.com.au told Fairfax Media: “For a lot of people it’s a very daunting conversation to have, as there’s that chance of rejection.”

“But if you don’t ask, you won’t get it, so it’s worth asking as you could save tens of thousands of dollars.”

In NSW, an average owner-occupier mortgage is $433,800, with interest at the standard 4.73 per cent. With a 0.2 per cent discount it could potentially save a homeowner $52 a month or more than $18,698 over a 30-year loan.

“It’s not uncommon for lenders to be discounting rates by 0.2 to 0.25 per cent,” she said. “Right now, unless your mortgage interest rate has a three in front of it, you could probably be getting a better deal,”

“If you managed to score a 0.5 per cent discount, you’d pocket $129 a month or $46,339 over a 30-year loan,” Ms Hassan said.

“Don’t settle for the advertised rate. Have the confidence to ask for a lower rate, and reap the reward that will come with making smaller mortgage repayments.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” she says.

A discount of 0.2 percentage points could save you $20,000 over the course of the average mortgage.

Generation X were the most likely to have received a discount (38%) followed by Generation Y (32%). Perhaps surprisingly, Baby Boomers were the least likely (28%) to secure a rate discount.

West Australians were the most discount-savvy state, with 39% having received a discounted rate by asking, while Tasmania (26%) was the least likely to have received a lower rate.

Twelve per cent of respondents were offered a discount without requesting one.

“Right now, unless your mortgage rate has a three in front of it, you could be getting a better deal. If your lender won’t give you a discount, it’s time to jump online and compare,” Ms Hassan advises.

When deciding what home loan features are most important (aside from interest rate), fees topped the list. According to the survey, 36% of respondents think fees (36%) are the most important aspect, followed by the ability to make extra repayments (28%) and the use of an offset account (18%).

“When reviewing home loan options, fees trump all else. However, it appears Australians are becoming more savvy when understanding the value of making additional repayments and using a linked offset accounts,” Ms Hassan says.

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