RETAILERS are slicing hundreds of dollars off store prices in a haggling coup for consumers.
But home-loan customers too timid to take on banks are missing out on saving tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite being the biggest expense of a lifetime, many Australians are reluctant to directly haggle over a mortgage, research suggests.
Shoppers with the confidence to barter are earning big discounts on whitegoods, electronics, jewellery and cars – and they don’t even have to pay with cash.
By contrast, eight in 10 had bartered when buying electronics and whitegoods, seven in 10 for a car, and almost six in 10 over a property purchase.
The research, based on 400 adults, found men were more comfortable haggling than women.
The site is developing a negotiator service to help those who are too nervous to tackle lenders over new or existing loans.
“A lot of Australians still feel that banks have all the power in the relationship and don’t feel financially confident enough to negotiate directly,” Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said.
“However banks … at the moment are willing to give quite big discounts if you fight for them, even though they don’t widely advertise it.”
When asked about their current loan, four in 10 people tried to negotiate themselves or used a broker, two in 10 did not try, and four in 10 no longer had a loan.
A recent Mozo mystery shop found that when pressed, the Big Four wiped .6 to .9 percentage points off advertised variable rates for an average $330,000 mortgage with a 10 per cent deposit.
This would save $36,000 to $55,000 in interest over 25 years, depending on the rate cut and lender.
Shopping guinea pigs Natasha Nielsen, 37, and Adrian Stock, 25, tested their haggling skills for an identical model television, women’s watch, fridge, car and home loan at the same stores last week.
Mr Stock fared best for most categories, scoring discounts of up to 25 per cent.
“I basically stayed friendly and not too serious or aggressive,” Mr Stock said. “I suggested something ridiculously low with a smile and worked from there.”
Ms Nielsen knocked off $200 more than her male rival for the vehicle.
“I had recently actually gone through the process of buying a car so I felt comfortable asking ‘Are you serious?’,” she said.
“In hindsight I could have pushed a bit harder on the other items. I was probably a bit passive and accepting.”