I realize that this might be a little out of the ordinary, but, if I don’t ask I’ll never know. When I was searching for how to price the writing for a real estate property description I came upon your website — very nice, informative, and easy to navigate.
I am a copywriter and have a client who would like me to write an MLS description for a property that she’s selling. My problem is what should I charge?
She is a realtor serving the luxury market and the potential to create (write and design) other marketing pieces such as postcards and sales emails is there. This is something I feel very comfortable with, but just what to charge is the sticking point.
If you are able to help me with this, that would be great. Thank you for your time.
Gigi Pentak, Copywriter
It’s nice to meet you.
Regarding the listing you’re writing, the “problem” is that realtors pay for everything, such as advertising and copywriting, out of their own pocket, and that’s before they’ve made any money off the property they’re trying to sell. For that reason, they tend to be thrifty. Quote too high a price and they’ll just figure out how to do the task themselves.
I have a couple of questions for you before I can suggest what to charge.
Susan Greene, Copywriter
Thank you for reaching back. I’ve answered your questions in blue type.
- How long is the listing? Approximate word count? Maximum word count would be 250.
- How long will it take you to write it? I’m guessing it should take me about 1 to 2 hours. This will be the first time doing this writing.
- How pricey is the property you’re promoting? If it’s a more pricey property with a potential bigger commission, the realtor will be open to spending more on marketing and copywriting. The home will be listed at $25-million.
- How did the realtor find you? Were you referred to her, in which case she is somewhat committed to you. If she found you via a freelance site, you’re likely competing with others on price. We met at a networking event and followed up with the “traditional” coffee meeting; we’ve met twice already.
That’s an expensive property. Your realtor should be willing to spend something on the property listing write-up.
If you estimate maximum 2 hours @ $75 per hour, which is a fair market value for a real estate writer, then you should charge $150. Since you’ve already met with her twice, she is committed to you. I think $150 is very reasonable. What do you think?
I think that sounds fair. Quoting prices is the part of freelancing that I don’t like. Thank you very much for your generous advice.
I’ve been doing this a long time. Quoting still makes me apprehensive.
If you’re not already doing so, you should be tracking your hours for each job. Then, when a similar writing project comes in, you’ll have an accurate sense of how long it will take you to complete it.
Of course, time isn’t the only factor you should consider when pricing a writing project. Otherwise, as you gain experience and the efficiency that comes with it, you’ll actually be making less per project. In fact, the reverse should be true. As you get more proficient and more knowledgeable, you should charge more for your expertise. Think of how a medical specialist, like a cardiologist or orthopedist, charge more than a general practitioner.
Good luck with your real estate client. I hope this is only the first of many writing projects she hires you to do.
P.S. Gigi later confirmed the client approved her quote and she got the real estate listing gig.
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