Seniors housing: Let's make a deal!

Note to seniors seeking independent- or assisted-living communities: No time like the present.

With occupancy rates down and rent growth slowing, some private-pay (non-government) senior-housing companies are dangling tasty carrots to get potential renters off the fence and into their communities.

Among the incentives are $500 discounts on the first month's rent or half off the community fees -- nonrefundable "administrative" costs that typically equal one month's rent, or several thousand dollars at some facilities.