Want to buy a home? Have good credit? The market seems to expect that you will underbid the price of the home or ask for more concessions because after all it is a buyer's market.
Looking for a new car? 20% the MSRP seems reasonable all of the sudden for car dealers that are seeking new buyers in a market where those with cash, good credit, and the desire to buy a new car are few and far between. Now, everyone from Hyundai to GM is offering Car assurances that even if someone loses their job, the car company will pay the bill for three months to nine months as an added level of confidence.
So why not bargain shop when it comes to senior housing and care?
You Get What You Pay For - if it is a matter of home health support where you are paying $20 an hour to a company for someone to come to your home and help with tasks around the house, or help with activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, transferring, eating, toileting, or medication management, what deal can you make? Assuming the person actually providing the hands-on service is making between $10 and $14 an hour ($20,800 to $29,120 annualized based on someone working 2080 hours a year), there may be 5% leeway to negotiate before you start to impact the type of service that can be delivered. However, if you have someone that is coming for more than 40 hours a week, it won't hurt to ask for a loyalty discount.
Every Dollar Helps - In terms of assisted living and retirement living options, Communities across the country are making deals. Waving "Community Fees" that can be worth $1000 to $10,000 in cost; paying for moving expenses; helping with closing costs on your current home; paying for new upgrades, and many other incentives just to help you make the decision today. It won't hurt to ask specifically: "Can you please tell me about any financial deals you have worked out with the last 5 people that have moved in?" Followed by, "Can I please get the name and number of at least 3 of the last folks that moved in to ask how their experience was?"
Find a Good Person or Place, Make Sure it Stays that Way - People feel good when they get the deal of the day. People feel great when they look back over time and see that the home support service they are receiving is from a really good person that cares. Or that the lifestyle they are able to live at the retirement community gives them real peace of mind. These feelings far outweigh the few dollars saved in bargaining for care. Seek these feelings out by paying up for quality.
To accomplish this:
1) Compare ratings and experiences of other consumers
2) Visit in person for a "gut" check
3) Once you have chosen a service, keep asking questions to ensure you are receiving the best service and care available