Business Management

3 Reasons I Love Using Podio to Manage My Real Estate Business

Expertise: Business Management
17 Articles Written

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After appearing as a guest on Podcast 143, the most common question I receive from the BiggerPockets community is related to my use of Podio to manage my real estate business. 

Since the podcast in the fall of 2015, I’ve dug deeper into the power of Podio, and I have been overwhelmed by both its simplicity and its breadth of capabilities. I am convinced: Podio is hands down the best tool for me to manage various areas of my real estate business. 

For many, Podio is a new and different kind of software. It’s different in that Podio is not created for one specific industry nor for one specific set of business processes. In fact, the broad scope of potential Podio applications can be intimating to the new user. However, an honest commitment to learn the product will pay huge dividends in gained efficiency and productivity for your business. 

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Related: Personal Finance Software: 7 Top-Notch Tools to Help You Grow Wealth

Podio Crash Course

So what is Podio? In its simplest form, Podio is a relational database application created by Citrix. Businesses use Podio to store a huge variety of information. This information can come in the form of customers, leads, properties, projects, deliverables, meetings, files, photos, prospects, etc. These pieces of information are then connected via “references” to enable robust calculation and reporting. Each of these pieces of information is stored in a specific “application” in Podio. These applications can be customized by the user depending on the type of data being stored and the attributes that are important to the specific business. In addition, Podio has an amazing set of collaboration tools, such as chat, task management, contact management and calendars. 

A Quick Example of “Properties” and “Mortgages”

Let’s assume you create an application called “Properties.” Within this application, you have a field to store the following information:

  • Property Address (option to show address on a map)
  • Type (Single Family, Duplex, Triplex, Apartment, etc.)
  • Owner (LLC, Personal, etc.)
  • Purchase Price
  • Market Value
  • Purchase Date

You also have an application called “Mortgages.” This app would have some key information about the loan including a relationship to the “Properties” app:

  • Lender
  • Loan Amount
  • Interest Rate
  • Related Property (Drop down of all the properties in your “Properties” app)

Now that these apps are created, we can do all sorts of calculating and reporting to help run our business. For example, you can create a simple report to show all the debt you have on outstanding single family properties. 


There are many great apps out there used by the BiggerPockets community. Apps like Buildium (to learn more about Buildium, click here)  and Appfolio are top-notch when it comes to managing rental properties. This post is NOT an attempt to convince you to throw away your current systems and switch Podio. This is merely an effort to share huge benefits my company has experienced by using Podio as an operations platform

Below are the three reasons I love using Podio to run my business.

1. Customization 

The beauty of Podio lies within its flexibility. As a Podio user, you can custom-build your workspace(s) for the exact needs of your business (you can even choose the image icons that represent each of your apps).

All our businesses are different. The flexibility afforded by Podio allows you to address these differences to create a comprehensive operating system perfectly suited for your business. As mentioned above, there are some great apps to manage various processes of our business. However, there is little to no ability to customize these apps. They are built for the masses and cannot be tailed to your specific needs.

In addition to the ability to customize specific apps, the flexibility of Podio also allows you to manage drastically different processes with one solution. While Appfolio may be a great software for property management, it offers little in the area of managing rehab projects. It’s also not a great CRM for incoming leads from motivated sellers. Podio allows you to create different workspaces for the various areas of your business. In the end, it’s possible to have a one-stop shop to manage all of your business systems and processes. 


2. Pre-Built App Templates

While many of us find tremendous value in creating custom Podio applications, there is much to be gained from Podio’s free app marketplace. The marketplace is a repository of app templates built by other Podio users. I was shocked by the number of amazing templates available for free in this repository. For example, you could install a “Project Management” app bundle to track various projects and collaborate with team members. 

I find templates to be great building blocks for custom apps. I’ll typically install a template that meets 75 percent of my needs. From there, I’ll modify the app template to perfectly fit my business. The templates are also great sources for ideas and inspiration. Podio is extremely powerful! It can be difficult to see the broad range of capabilities. Seeing what others have done through the app marketplace can help to stimulate your creative mind and create amazing solutions for your business. 

Related: 4 Steps to Supercharge Your Productivity With Scrum Project Management

3. Integrations and Extensions

Citrix understands that there are some amazing tools used by businesses every day. With this in mind, Podio has many app integrations that are either native to Podio or available via third-party apps, such as Zapier.

By far our most commonly used integration is Google Drive. Within any App item in Podio, you have the option to attach files. Instead of uploading a bulky document from my desktop, I access our Google Drive and simply link to the desired file(s). You can do the same thing if you use DropBox! It’s also possible to integrate apps such as Evernote, Google Contacts, Toggl, Xero Accounting, Quickbooks Online, and so many more. 

There are also some great extensions that actually expand on the power of Podio. One of the most popular (and powerful) of these extensions is Globiflow. Globiflow is an application that supercharges your ability to set up workflows within Podio. You set up basic triggers and rules that will automatically start a workflows within your Podio workspace. These workflows can create new items, update existing items, delegate tasks, and even create PDFs and emails. 

How Much Does it Cost?

There is a free version of Podio that has a tremendous amount of power. I was personally shocked to see the capabilities of the free plan. Podio has a tiered pricing structure based on the number of users and desired features. 

My business is currently running the free version of Podio, but we pay for a couple of extensions (Globiflow and Smartgantt). 



Podio may or may not be the solution for you. But you owe it to yourself to at least check it out. You should be able to gather a strong opinion on the potential benefits by playing around with the free version and installing some sample applications. 

I have a lot more detail related to Podio to share. Feel free to reach out or comment with any specific questions or areas of interest. 

Leave your questions and comments below!

Nick Baldo started investing in real estate in 2011 with a focus on flipping houses in the Buffalo, NY area. He has since expanded his business, NY Home Sol...
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    Gordon Cuffe Investor from Roseville, CA
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I have checked out podio. The free version does not do much for me. I just want a version that I do not have to build or figure out. One that is simply and will alert me to follow up with sellers when I input a seller who just hasn’t lowered their asking price to where it makes sense. grabing docs out of google drive will be helpful. The biggest thing is having the sellers organized and I good follow up system. How can I get something that is simple and doesn’t break the bank.
    Nick Baldo Investor from Buffalo, NY
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Hey Gordon, Podio definitely has a bit of a learning curve! No doubt about it. You would be able to do what you need with the free version and a simple plan on Globiflow for $9/mo. However, there is a bit of work to get it set up. There very well might be an “out of the box solution” suited for real estate agents/ wholesalers….although I’m not sure you would find anything for free. Let me know if you decide to give Podio/ Globiflow a shot. I’m more than happy to help you get a basic setup going.
    Brandon Hall CPA from Raleigh, NC
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Does Podio offer Gmail integration? I currently use Insightly for my CRM and would have a tough time switching based on the Gmail integration alone.
    Nick Baldo Investor from Buffalo, NY
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Yes…however it is probably not as “native” to Gmail as Insightly. There is a Podio extension that allows you to create tasks from Gmail. You can also use Zapier to create “Leads” in Podio based on incoming emails. You can connect Podio to Google Contacts, Calendars, Drive, etc.
    Brandon Hall CPA from Raleigh, NC
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Does Podio offer Gmail integration? I currently use Insightly for my CRM and would have a tough time switching based on the Gmail integration alone.
    James Green Wholesaler from Waldorf, Maryland
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    @NICK BALDO I love Podio myself & only use the free version. Now Globifow is no longer $9 month. I think Podio bought out Globiflow, so to get the capability of Globiflow a new user would have to upgrade & it’s pretty hefty if you are a small shop. Previous users of Globiflow will get grandfathered in though.
    Heather Pantalone from Harker Heights, Texas
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Could you please link to the free Podio sign up? My search turns up $9 a month as the basic option.
    Andy H. Investor from Stockdale , Texas
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Heather: I had a similar confusion when I first went to their site. Instead of clicking the “pricing” link on their home page (which is the most intuitive thing to do, but doesn’t list any free options), click the “sign up” button in the top right corner of their home page. Put in your email address, name, and a password, and it will create a free account for you.
    Matt McConkey Rental Property Investor from Scottsdale, AZ
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Podio is great, hands down, no questions asked.. I have used many a CRM systems, but for the price and capabilities, you cannot beat what it does. My favorite part is the customization angle. For each lead that comes in, we track how many times we’re in contact with that person. Each time we call, text, email, we mark it in there. That way any person who might follow up will see how many times we’ve already followed up with said person. Another great feature is the task feature. You can task people right in the app and it will email them the information they need, even if they’re not a “team member”. We use that for our boots on the ground. My only qualm would be that it doesn’t have a drip marketing campaign built in. But if it does and I totally missed that, someone please tell me!
    Angela Barrere Investor from Canton, GA
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Matt, I am just getting set up with the free version of Podio. I want to set up something similar to what you said you are using for leads. We flip properties and I am trying to figure out how best to track properties we have bids in on or even have done drive bys on. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Joaquin Marte from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    great post bro thanks for sharing your knowledge with us
    James Russell Investor from Madison, Wisconsin
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    this sort of back office knowledge is great, beginner or guru, this still makes an impact on making your business run more efficiently. thanks. these are the type of posts i try to turn total newbies on to, so they at least know some of what they are in for if they decide to make this more than a hobby.
    Eric Gabriel Investor from Charlotte, NC
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I use Podio and Globiflo for my recruiting business and real estate business. I spent a lot of time searching for these. This article is very valuable for those looking to systematize their business. If anyone would like help setting up the automations, I can be bought. :).
    Nick Howell Real Estate Investor from Smyrna, Tennessee
    Replied about 4 years ago
    I need help setting it up. How do I get in touch with you?
    Nick Baldo Investor from Buffalo, NY
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hi Nick…feel free to reach me directly via BP Message…or if Eric was who you were looking for, I’m sure he would be open to that as well.
    Roger Pokorny Rental Property Investor from Muncie IN
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Great article. I am new to real estate investing and plan on putting the systems in place as I grow. Right now my business is too small to justify the overhead. This looks like a very good and affordable option to automating the backend of my business. I will definitely check it out.
    Account Closed Rental Property Investor from Portland, OR
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I downloaded the free version of podio after listening to your podcast episode last fall, but haven’t done much with it yet because of the learning curve. One of the big things that drew me to looking into podio was the integration with tools like globiflow. Now that I see James Green’s comment above, my bubble is burst and I’m back to square one in searching out a long-term automatable property management/project management/CRM solution for my one person/4-doors REI business. Anyone have any suggestions now that the functions of globiflow are cost-prohibitive for someone like me?
    Diedrick Nagle Rental Property Investor from Golden, CO
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Nick awesome article. I’m a new investor so I’ll definitely be checking out your website.
    Peter Mckernan Residential Real Estate Agent from Irvine, CA
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Nick, this really opens up other avenues to venture down when starting a property management company, brokerage, or any other type of real estate company! Great article and good content!
    Wilmer Lau Investor from Vancouver, British Columbia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    HI Nick Baldo: Thanks for all the help. I have a question about access. In a workspace, let’s say I have an app for “Properties”, “Mortgages”, “Rental Contracts”, “Guarantors of the Rental Contracts”. If I wanted my property manager to have access to the Rental Contracts, and the Guarantors app, but I do not want my property manager to know about my mortgages, how can this be done? Do I need to create different workspaces? How do I transfer the information from one app in a workspace to another?
    Nick Baldo Investor from Buffalo, NY
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi Wilmer, Great question. User access is managed at the workspace level. This means that you would probably need to create a separate workspace for the apps that you want your property manager to access. Another option “share” individual “items” with specific people. So you could keep all your apps in workspace, not allow access to the property manager(s), but share the specific items with the appropriate property manager. This system would be appropriate if you have several different property managers. If you had a separate workspace for property manager access, all who are invited would be able to see all the items…even if they are not relevant to the specific PM. Let me know if you have specific question about this…happy to have a quick phone call to explain further. You can “clone” an app to move information from one workspace to another. When you do this, you also have the option to “also close the content of this app”. Go to the specific app, click the wrench, and select “clone”. Again, let me know if you have questions on this. Good luck!