Welcome to HDIPT, a blog series where Auntie answers all your specific pricing questions! Today’s question is from Marsha about copywriting:

My realtor (and good friend) really liked the copy I wrote for my condo listing and wants to hire me to write copy for all her listings. How do I even begin to price it? It took me 30 minutes to write about 200-300 words for mine, but I know my place and its pros really well.

Setting Prices for Short-form Copywriting

Marsha, you’ve already gathered some really useful information, so good on you. You know it takes half an hour to write a description of a home you know really well. But you won’t be as familiar with other listings, and it’s not your job to figure out the best selling points. So I would give yourself at least an hour per listing description and base your prices according to your baseline hourly rate even if you don’t charge hourly. Which I don’t think you should do because the value of your work goes beyond the time you spend doing it.

The value of your work goes beyond the time you spend doing it. Click To Tweet

Preventing Scope Creep

I’m assuming that these listing descriptions will all be the same length. You’ll need to adjust your pricing for longer pieces of copy for print brochures or other advertising. If the agent plans to use the same description on multiple pieces of collateral, consider bumping your prices up because that writing now has greater marketing value.

Before you start, make sure to ask the agent to always provide you with 3-5 features they want to highlight, along with the standard MLS form and/or auditor report with the technical specs. Photos, videos, and floorplans will also help you write these descriptions quickly and efficiently, and from what I remember about real estate, a good agent will have these ready to go anyway.

Sliding Scale Pricing for Copywriting

The realtor needs to pay you for more than just your time. Why? Because these descriptions are helping the agent and the seller make money. And the more expensive the listing, the more valuable that description is going to be.

I suggest having a sliding scale based on list price, so that you charge more for descriptions of more expensive listings. This isn’t a totally foolproof method, because in some markets, smaller or less expensive listings might actually be harder to sell. But again, that’s not really your problem. 

The ultimate monetary value to the agent (and the seller) of a description for a high-end listing will be greater than that of a description for a less pricey listing. You need to be compensated more for creating something that produces more value for the client.

You need to be compensated more for creating something that produces more value for the client. Click To Tweet

One last note: I honestly wouldn’t offer revisions to the realtor and especially not to the client. If someone wants to make edits, they can pay you for a new description. Back in my teaching days, I used to offer test corrections but it was SUCH a pain to go back and regrade things piecemeal. And it also didn’t really encourage students to go back and truly learn the concepts they missed. I started doing full retakes, which I could easily run through a grading machine.

In fact, I would advise against dealing with clients directly at all. Which I know sounds super grumpy, but trust me on this. Having worked in real estate administration for several years, I can tell you that selling a house is often super stressful for homeowners. I often saw sellers cling to relatively minor details as a way to feel like they have control over the process. You will not be getting paid nearly enough to deal with that nonsense unless you start charging 1% of the listing price, so hand the descriptions over to the agent and walk away.

Good luck with your home sale!

Auntie JDF

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