Propelio is a real estate technology platform designed to help investors find prospective on- and off-market deals. Propelio offers an array of services, including lead gen, a driving for dollars app, marketing capabilities, such as sending postcards to leads and building your own business website.
I decided to take Propelio’s driving for dollars app for a spin — literally — and have been road testing it, along with top alternatives DealMachine and PropStream, to figure out which driving for dollars app is the best overall. In this guide, I’ll break down Propelio’s driving for dollars app: how it works, pros and cons, and how it stacks up against the competition.
Bottom line: Propelio has potential but falls short of alternatives
What Propelio gets right: Relative to the other driving for dollars apps, the only thing I like about Propelio is that it offers a basic, lower-priced membership option for the more casual or opportunistic investor: “Driving” for just $29 a month vs. the $99 most apps charge for a Pro subscription. The lower price point gets you basic driving for dollars features (route tracking, list building) but you’ll miss out on some other core ones like skip tracing and comps.
Where Propelio falls short: I found Propelio’s driving for dollars app to be clunky, glitchy, and complicated to use (especially while behind the wheel). It offers the option to filter properties (foreclosures, absentee owners, etc.), but the feature is badly designed and actually blocks out the map when added. Many of the other features, like the “website builder,” felt more like unnecessary bells and whistles than actually helpful tools.
Why Propelio has potential: Propelio’s “MLS Comps” could be a powerful feature, as it pulls timely data from an MLS to give you comparable properties — instantly. But the feature is only available in 9 states, and of those, only in a few select markets. Hopefully Propelio expands the comp feature’s coverage and availability in the future, which would definitely up the usefulness of the app relative to alternatives. Something to watch for. But until then, I recommend my top pick DealMachine instead.
Propelio vs. DealMachine vs. Propstream
» MORE: Compare the best Driving for Dollars apps in 2022 (coming soon!)
Breaking down the competition
Propelio vs. DealMachine
DealMachine is another driving for dollars that, at the Pro level, offers many of the same features: route tracking, property data, listing building, skip tracing, and direct marketing. But, in my experience, DealMachine’s execution is far better. The map is much easier to use, and the property data, skip tracing, and direct marketing is integrated more seamlessly. Many of Propelio’s filters and other features actually obscure the map when you use them, making it harder to navigate (and kind of defeating the purpose of the app).
Pricing-wise, the Pro subscription for both apps is the same at $99 a month. Propelio does include MLS comps in that fee (DealMachine charges extra), but this feature is currently only available in AL, AZ, CO, GA, IL, OK, MO, NM, and TX. And even within those states, it’s still only available in select markets. While DealMachine’s charges more per postcard, they’re better quality and more customizable. Overall, DealMachine gets my vote both in terms of practical usefulness and value.
» MORE: Read the full DealMachine review
Propelio vs. PropStream
PropStream offers real estate investing software with a heavy focus on data and list building. Like Propelio, PropStream has a driving for dollars app with route tracking, real-time skip tracing, and integrated direct marketing. Overall, I think PropStream beats Propelio: It offers more data and useful features, including comps (in all 50 states) and a built-in rehabbing calculator (powered by BlueHammer) to help you model deals.
Pricing-wise, PropStream’s Pro tier costs $99 a month – so you’ll save $1 compared to Propelio. But overall you’re getting more value: More data, more useful built-in tools, and real-time comps no matter where you’re deal hunting. But when it comes to actual driving for dollars, both fall short of DealMachine. In my opinion, PropStream’s app actually provides too much data which, coupled with some design shortcomings, makes it harder to use in the field. I do think its desktop software shines, though.
» MORE: Read the full PropStream review
How Propelio works
Propelio is real estate subscription software that has a separate driving for dollars mobile app. The software itself has four essential tools:
- Property data: Search property addresses, gather information, skip trace, and create comparative market analyses.
- List builder: Generate lists of leads based on various criteria.
- Website builder: Create microsites where you can direct your prospects to provide an additional validation layer and share contact info.
- Driving for dollars: Make lead lists on the road, track your routes, and see where you’ve driven in the past.
To use Propelio’s driving for dollars app, you first create a list, then go out driving. The app will track your route, and you can save potential property deals to your lists. You can attach notes to your properties, conduct a skip trace on the spot, or send a postcard to the property owners. All the properties you save in the app will automatically sync to the Propelio software, so you can access them later on a desktop.
Key Propelio features
One of Propelio’s headline features is its ability to generate comparative market analyses (CMAs) in real time.
The Comps feature is easy to use: You just find a property you want to value, then click the “Comparative Sales” tab. You can then adjust criteria, such as number of bedrooms and square footage, and Propelio will spit out a CMA on the spot. After you’ve selected a few comps from the list, Propelio will generate an estimated after-repair value (ARV) for the property.
Propelio claims its comps are getting pulled directly from the MLS by an actual agent, but you won’t actually be able to interact with anyone or ask questions. And though Propelio says you’re saving time by not using a real estate agent, the truth is you’re not saving that much time: You still have to examine each comp and find those that are truly comps, since the criteria at the beginning is missing crucial information (like acreage). It’s a useful built-in feature to have, but not a substitute. If you’re serious about investing, you should definitely have one (or more) agents helping you source and analyze deals -— especially since, when you’re buying, you generally won’t have to pay their commission anyhow.
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Born out of a partnership with Skip Genie —a skip tracing service— Propelio allows you to skip trace within its driving for dollars app. But it will cost you. Here’s what you’ll pay based on your plan:
- Driving: $0.30/EA
- Marketing: $0.27/EA
- Professional: $0.15/EA
Skip Genie is fairly reputable, and, based on my experience, the owner information it finds is accurate. The service itself costs around $59 per month, but with a Propelio membership, the highest you pay is $0.30 for one skip trace. That’s a good deal, especially since Skip Genie’s membership only allows a 100 skip traces per month, which would cost you $30 under a basic Propelio membership.
Found within the driving for dollars app, Propelio lets you send postcards directly to leads on your list. Again, postcards come with a fixed cost based on your plan:
- Driving: $0.80/EA
- Marketing: $0.72/EA
- Professional: $0.40/EA
Postcards usually arrive within a few business days after ordering them. It's a near feature, but do note: the cards are very generic. Though you can add your own photo of the property (“look I was there!”), you can’t customize the font, colors, or message.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The “MLS comps” feature isn’t available in every state: In fact, it’s not available in most states. Right now, you can run a CMA only if you live in: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. Even within these states, not every country or city is covered. My advice: If you’re interested in the MLS comps, use the free trial to see if your area is covered. You don’t want to pay $98 for a feature you can’t even use.
Propelio has three pricing tiers:
- Driving: $29/month
- Marketing: $59/month
- Professional: $99/month
Of the three pricing tiers, “Driving” is the best deal for those who want a cheap driving for dollars app. The other two plans give you extra features, but I don’t think they’re worth the higher price tag.
Why Propelio’s “Marketing” subscription isn’t worth it
Under the Marketing plan, you’ll get a website generated for you — and that’s basically it. You can adjust the website’s content, check analytics (like pageviews), and add new pages. But you won’t have much control over the design (you get three templates). And you won’t get any in-depth marketing tools to increase your site’s visitors. But here’s the real deal killer: Your website is auto-generated from the most basic WordPress templates, then populated with pre-written content that’s pretty mediocre. In sum, you’re paying $30 more per month ($360 extra per year) for a fairly generic website that you could build on your own.
A better option: if you want a website, sign up through WordPress ($5 per month) and use one of their templates to do it yourself.
Why Propelio’s “Professional” subscription also isn’t worth it
The Professional plan has a lot of potential, but it’s definitely still a work in progress. Considering you can only generate CMAs if you live in one of a handful of cities in only a handful of states, I don’t think the extra $60 per month is worth it — not when alternative apps and software offer superior tools.
It’s worth noting, however, that you can get 5,000 lead downloads per day under the Professional plan (150,000 per month). If you’re running a high-volume operation, you might want to try out the free trial for Professional, just to gauge the quality of the leads.
Customers really like the skip tracing feature within the driving for dollars app, and they also liked being able to send postcards to leads. On the flip side, many claim the app is glitchy, and it can freeze while you’re out driving. Propelio has been updating its software to fix the glitches, and the last review made no note of any bugs. It’s also worth pointing out that the app simply just doesn’t have very many reviews. If I’m comparing an app like Propelio, that has 37 reviews, with an app like DealMachine, which has over 4,600, I generally opt for the more proven platform.
Summary: Key things to know about Propelio
- Propelio is investment software with a driving for dollars app.
- With a basic membership (“Driving”) you can track your driving route, save properties to a list, conduct skip traces, and send postcards.
- With a marketing membership, you can build a website, though I don’t recommend paying an extra $30 per month for the quality that you get.
- Under Pro, you get instant MLS comps (for certain areas), 5,000 lead downloads per day, and everything in lower plans.
- Propelio’s driving for dollars map isn’t as user-friendly as the map on DealMachine, and its property data isn’t as comprehensive as PropStream.
- For the best driving for dollars app, I recommend DealMachine. It’s easier-to-use, and its marketing features are far better than Propelio.