By Andy, Sale Ezy support

Recently, we had a meeting with a mortgage broker and honestly, I felt like we were cheating.

We've had our home loan for almost 10 years with our current bank -- a small bank that provides really great service, goes above and beyond and has exceptionally friendly staff -- and we do all our day-to-day banking and saving with them as well.

Our bank has been good to us. We made the call, around a decade ago to take our money and move it from one of the big banks, from which we were receiving dismal service and with whom we had cancelled the same credit card more than five times, only to keep receiving bills and new cards.

The bank we chose was a good choice, but that choice was driven by the field within which my partner worked and the special deals we would get on our home loan because of his job. We felt really good about our decision.

Not long ago, my partner made the choice to go back to uni and study again, and we decided, despite the drop in income, we'd try to pay the fees upfront. Obviously, this led to a review of our budget -- something we do regularly, but we have realised, quite superficially.

Each time we review, we refine this and tweak that, but from memory, we have never actually changed any of our major service providers in order to minimise some of the bigger costs we have for utilities, insurances, banking and other services.

This year was the year for a big review and we were surprised at what we found. Not only had our deal with our utilities provider changed at some point without us noticing, but it seemed that great rate and special deal we'd secured with our bank for our home loan was actually not so special ten years down the track.

Upon review, it looked as though we'd been paying at least $500 more each month in repayments than we would have been with a competitor -- and we found this after only a quick ten-minute search.

We'd always been good with our mortgage and paid more than we needed to each month and we were always ahead, so it was really disappointing to see we could actually have spent the same each month and made $500 more ground.

And so, after a call to our bank that was friendly and genuine and lovely, but no real help at all, we made our appointment with a broker.

1. Loyalty can make you lazy

The big take away from our story above is loyalty can make you really lazy. If you do all your banking with the same institution that provides your loan, moving banks seems like a big deal and a lot of work.

In addition, figuring out where to go, which bank or institution is the best for you and undertaking all the paperwork to terminate one arrangement only to start another -- well, ain't nobody got time for that!

The thing is, laziness can cost you a fortune. After we met with the mortgage broker, he reviewed everything for us -- meeting us after hours and spending quite a bit of time with us -- and he found us a deal with a reputable bank that will save us almost $1,000.00 per month. That's $12,000 extra we could pay off our home loan each year, and we didn't even have to do anything, we let him do it for us.

He also took the time to explain all the different interest rates, the account types, why certain arrangements might be useful for us given our plans to invest in the next few years. It wasn't financial advice, just real-world definitions of the many aspects of the loan and our banking that no one had bothered to explain to us before.

Filling the paperwork was annoying, I won't lie -- it's invasive and because our circumstances have changed, we filled it in with some trepidation and honestly, a fear of rejection. What if a new bank didn't want us now? Were we stuck with our now obviously terrible deal, knowing every year we will effectively flush more than 10 grand down the toilet?

Calling our bank was also tough -- it was like breaking up, and even though they were the ones who took more from our relationship than they should have, and we gave them a chance to make it up to us, for some reason, we still left feeling just a little bad -- they were friendly, they were not pushy at all and they even tried to help facilitate the move.

Ultimately, making that little bit of extra effort -- with a skilled professional as our guide -- has made a big difference to us already and will really impact our future.

2. Loyalty makes you overlook better opportunities

Loyalty is really psychological and it has a big impact on your decision-making processes.

One thing we learned from this entire process is our loyalty and how comfortable we were with our bank caused us to overlook other opportunities. We had a 'better-the-devil-you-know' mentality.

Now, this wasn't laziness, that's already covered -- this is simply that, as mentioned, when reviewing our budget, we looked at our spend, our groceries and our leisure. But even all the ads we saw on TV didn't ever cause us to stop and think about our loan. We knew how it felt and how it treated us and really, we couldn't be sure what would happen elsewhere.

I liken this to one of those terrible movies where the leading lady is clearly with the wrong guy -- the bad boy -- when we all know the other guy will make her so much happier.

She sticks with the wrong guy for way too long out of this misplaced sense of loyalty and can't even see the other guy as a real option. Sure, he seems nice, but what if she makes the move and this guy isn't all he's cracked up to be? She'll just end up more hurt! It just isn't worth taking the risk -- better to stick with the guy she knows, because even though he's not great, he is predictable and she's familiar with him.

We were much the same with our bank, and I think a lot of people are -- many of us don't like change so we don't embrace it, even though it could benefit us.

3. Loyalty stopped us from taking a hard line

One thing a lot of people don't realise -- or perhaps they know but don't think about it -- is the terms your bank offer for your loan aren't set in stone, that's why there are often clauses in the agreement relating to termination of the loan with the bank.

When we first got our home loan, we realistically had no idea what we were doing. We researched, asked questions and meticulously read through every page of everything we signed and initialled, but what we didn't think to do was negotiate.

Literally at no point did we utter the words, 'is there any wiggle room on that?' like we would if we were getting a quote for any other product or service of this magnitude -- I mean, we negotiated on the house, so why not the loan?

Most of us also don't realise or remember we can chat to the bank as the loan progresses and possibly renegotiate along the way -- the interest rates change and other banks offer better deals, so it would be remiss of us not to keep our finger on that pulse.

Until now, we really didn't do that, but now we have, we won't look back and this will really motivate us to keep a closer eye on our loan.

In the grand scheme of things, changing our loan was actually not much work and now we can look forward to getting much further ahead on our repayments each month!