Why I Can’t Tell You How Much It Costs to Build an Online Real Estate Listing

Sometimes when a client reaches out to me, they open with a question like this:

“My real estate company needs a website. We need show our real estate listings. How much will that cost, and how long will it take?”

Here’s why I can’t answer that question for you, and anyone who says they can is lying.

Here’s an example of a real estate listing on a website. Image 2016-02-23 at 9.07.22 PM

Here’s another:

Image 2016-02-23 at 9.08.36 PM

Here’s another:

Image 2016-02-23 at 9.09.58 PM

 

Features that’s on one of these real estate listings, but not the others:

  • Large image galleries.
  • Responsive design.
  • Local school district data.
  • contact forms.
  • Static maps.
  • Dynamic maps.

  • Police reports.
  • Ability to save the property to review later.
  • A virtual tour.
  • Public records.
  • A list of nearby restaurants.
  • Price history graphs.

  • Prices of nearby homes.
  • Similar homes based on features.
  • Similar homes based on location.
  • Similar homes based on price.
  • Pop-up listings over a fullscreen map.
  • More than one font or color.

Other details that can’t be deciphered by looking at a page, but could affect pricing:

It takes a lot more than a list of features to determine the price. You could give a list of features to a group of developers and get the following prices: $750, $950, $1500, “at least $4000”,$5000, and $12,000. Here are some other factors that come into play:

  • Who will be entering the real estate data? You, me, one of your employees, another program?
  • How often are listings updated?
  • How should listings with incomplete information be handled?
  • When someone fills out a contact form, what happens?

  • What happens when a listing is sold?
  • Where are we getting all of this data?
  • How are we tracking the effectiveness of the page?
  • How many listings will your website have?

  • What is the average value of a listing?
  • How quickly do you need this work done?
  • What is the impact if this work doesn’t get done?

Next time you are thinking about putting out a brief description of your project and asking for a price, instead describe the problems you are trying to solve and the goals you are trying to achieve. Figuring out the cost of features is a conversation, not a question.

Want to be a more reliable developer? check out a sample chapter from Dependable: Deliver Software on Time and within Budget