How to Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate

While interest rates may seem like unimportant financial details, these figures actually play quite a large part in the balancing of your budget.  Because the difference of a percent or two can equal thousands of dollars saved or lost, attempting to negotiate these rates is well worth your effort.  By putting on your bargaining hat and being a hard-nosed consumer, you can likely influence the interest rates that fill your financial record.

Take your time. Negotiating an interest rate will necessarily take longer than just accepting the first interest rate offer that comes your way.

Research your rate options. Gather information from several credit-granting companies regarding their current interest offerings so you are aware of what rates are common in the current market.

Decide upon a reasonable rate request. Select a rate that is not too far off the current market rates to increase your chances of success. If, for example, you try to negotiate for a 3 percent interest rate in a market where the going rate is 6.5 percent, you aren't likely to accomplish your goal.

Educate yourself on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the more aggressive you can be in your demands. Know whether your credit score is strong and, if it is, mention this when negotiating.

Complete the mortgage shopping worksheet. The Federal Reserve Board offers this worksheet specifically to help those seeking a lower mortgage interest, allowing you to more effectively survey your options. Take advantage of this worksheet by filling it out with information regarding your most desirable offers.

Use this worksheet to pit lenders against each other. When speaking to lenders, be specific and quote rates that you received from other companies. When confronted with an actual competitor's rate, they may be more willing to negotiate than they would be if you appeared to be an ill-informed consumer.

Be willing to walk if your requests are not met. If you aren't willing to move on to another offer, you will likely not succeed in your negotiation attempt, since your lender will sense your eagerness and, as a result, not dedicate as much time to actually engaging in negotiations as they would have were you firm and resolute in your requests.

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About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.