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D.A.W.G.S. (Door And Window Guard Systems) manufactures and rents attractive steel panels (Door and Window Guards) used to cover door and window openings on vacant buildings. Our vacant property security solutions eliminate break-ins and many of the other problems associated with vacant property.

Property investors, property managers, housing authorities rehabbers and real estate professionals trust D.A.W.G.S. to keep their vacant properties secure.


Top 10 Real Estate Markets for 2020

The Urban Land Institute’s annual look at the year ahead cited Austin, Texas, as the top U.S. real estate market for 2020.

“Austin is number one, rising from sixth place a year ago to first in overall real estate prospects and from fourth to first place in local expectation of investor demand in 2020,” according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. The analysis considered many salient features: Its slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, its deep pool of talent, unique and popular lifestyle, and ambitious commitment to business and real estate expansion.”

The report also noted Austin’s negatives: “Traffic is an ongoing issue,” the report said. “Housing affordability pressures are rising. These could be exacerbated since Austin has the highest projected population growth rate for the coming five years among the 80 markets we analyze.”

Below are the top 10 Real Estate Markets for 2020:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  3. Nashville, Tennesse
  4. Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. Boston
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth
  7. Orlando, Florida
  8. Atlanta
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Seattle

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DAWGS Cold Weather Checklist for Vacant Property

As the temperatures drop, it is important to take steps to protect your vacant properties from cold weather ice and snow damage. DAWGS had put together a Cold Weather Vacant Property:


  1. Confirm with your property insurer – they may have specific cold weather requirements to ensure your building is properly covered.
  2. Drain down the water system to prevent pipes from bursting.
  3. Check gutters for blockages such as trapped water or ice if unchecked, they can cause drain pipes to shatter.
  4. Clear and clean the property to prevent pest infestations.
  5. Ensure the property is safe and secure, undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to assess potential risks and vulnerabilities.
  6. Inspect the premises for mold which can pose a serious health risk if left untreated.
  7. Check for any damage to the roof as this will help prevent associated water, ice or snow damage.
  8. Switch off your utilities such as gas and electrics. This will reduce the risk of gas leaks, and deter potential squatters
  9. Schedule property inspections and patrols will give you the peace of mind that your property is being checked up on regularly.

The Future of Real Estate: 4 Trends of 2020

What is the future of real estate? There will be some shifts in the industry that real estate organizations need to prepare for. The future of real estate is facing trends of urbanizations, changing demographics, and new real estate technology trends. Looking forward to 2020, there will be some economic and social shifts, a wider range of opportunities, larger risk and return, and new drivers of value that you need to look at if you’re invested in the real estate industry. The PwC Real Estate 2020: Building the Future report highlights the main predictions regarding the environment of future real estate investing. Let’s take a look at some of the most evident real estate trends mentioned in the report so you know what to expect.

2020 Trends Shaping the Future of Real Estate

1) Expansion in Cities

The future of real estate is looking very bright as the industry is seeing a trend of urbanizing cities and economic growth. Cities across the world are working on building themselves to be centers of wealth creation. As construction activity is booming for 2020 and beyond, expect to see more contribution to the future of real estate from growing cities across Asia (most fast-paced region), Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Overall, total construction output globally is projected to reach a whopping $15 trillion by 2025.

As entirely new cities emerge in nations across the world, migration will rise. China is expected to experience the largest migration (1.5 million new residents a month for the next ten years). Even developed cities are witnessing population increases. London will welcome 2 million new residents by 2031. There will also be major US developments (like the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in New York) which will catalyze city expansions in 2020.

Now just because a lot of cities are building and experiencing growth, that doesn’t mean they will all succeed. Some might not witness the high level of migration they expect. And some might have such a large increase in population, they’ll fail because their economy wasn’t equipped to support them with enough jobs. As 2020 projects fierce competition between these emerging real estate markets, you need to keep an eye out for the ones which truly thrive. The future of real estate is in the cities that come out on top as leading centers for the investment community.

2) Demographic Shifts Trigger Real Estate Demand

Ending 2020, the world’s population of middle-class consumers will have increased by 1 billion. Developing countries have the largest share of younger populations. The aging population in advanced economies will have a bigger effect on the future of real estate. For example, the Bank of International Settlements analyzed these economies and found that house prices in the US are going to be deflating (about 80 basis points per annum in real estate prices over the next 40 years). What does an aging population mean for the future of real estate investing? New sectors in the real estate market will emerge to gain investor interest.

While the future of the real estate market will indeed be dominated by the main sectors of office, industrial, retail, and residential, there will be some changes. The older population will require more nursing homes so healthcare and retirement will become significant subsectors in the market. A projected global increase in population to 9.3 billion will demand more affordable housing. The growing population means larger food consumption; this will spark more investor interest in the agriculture subsector. The future of residential real estate? The shifts in demographic trends will definitely lead to some changes in consumer demands and real estate development. So expect the US housing market 2020 and other developed economies to start adding new and different types of property to their real estate inventories.

3) A Greener Future for Real Estate

Population growth and urbanization bring along with them the necessity for more eco-friendly real estate development. It’s projected that by 2050, the world will need 50 percent more energy, 40 percent more water, and 35 percent more food to sustain the population. This means new properties will be designed with a “green” strategy in mind. As we’re already seeing buildings starting to include renewable energy technologies and waste reduction, the future of real estate marketing is looking more and more green as this is what people will be looking at. But if this trend of economical efficiency outpaces current buildings’ abilities to go green, they could drastically drop in value. So this trend also plays a role in the future of real estate appraising.

4) Real Estate Technology Trends in 2020

With so many industries taking their business online, it’s only natural to think about the way tech will affect the future of real estate in 2020 and beyond. We’ve already seen a growing use of data analytics in the industry. This makes sense. Real estate is all about the numbers, especially when it comes to investment properties. Real estate professionals need to be looking at a lot of data to maintain their assets. Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics are a necessity if you want to be competitive in the industry.

Looking at the global real estate industry, we’ve seen a boost in demand for blockchain applications in some of the more rapidly developing regions like China, Singapore, and Southeast Asia. But will this be a serious trend shaping the future of real estate? A lot of players in the industry are hesitant to participate in this trend because of blockchain’s connection to cryptocurrency, which has been extremely volatile ever since it gained market attention in 2017.

But blockchain and cryptocurrency aren’t the same thing. Blockchain is simply the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. And this technology can be designed to support any type of transaction. Think of it as a web-based real estate market. The future of real estate agents will revolve around this technology, actively selling and buying properties using blockchain. But this can also negatively affect the future of real estate brokers. As technology continues to simplify real estate transactions, reliance on agents for property searches may reduce. The Western housing markets haven’t picked up this trend as quickly, but after seeing the development in Asian markets, expect to keep hearing about this trend.

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No One Home: Counties With the Most Vacancies

According to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions, over 1.5 million (1,530,563) U.S. single-family homes and condos are vacant, representing 1.6% of all homes. In total, the U.S. Census Bureau found that 17,019,726 homes were vacant in 2018. Compiling data from the Census Bureau’s most recent Community Survey, Stacker found which counties in every state have the highest concentration of vacant homes.

Counties with notably high percentage of vacant homes included Ashtabula County, located northeast of Cleveland. According to Stacker, 23.3% of total homes are vacant in this country, and Ohio holds one of the highest rates of zombie homes in the country, with a total of around 891 in the state. Around half of these vacant homes are in the Cleveland-Elyria metro area, with 431 homes. Additionally, the top two zip codes nationwide with the highest number of zombie properties (with at least 100 properties in pre-foreclosure) are Cleveland zip codes 44105 (57) and 44108 (54).

Some of the highest vacancy rates can be found in New Jersey. In Cape May County, New Jersey, 60.6% of total homes are unoccupied, however, nearly all are homes for seasonal or recreational use, as about half of the county’s residential real estate is vacation homes. New Jersey does still have some of the highest rates of zombie homes in the country, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. There are 463 zombie homes in New Jersey, and the 1,566 in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area.

New York, according to ATTOM, has the highest number of zombie properties, at 2,428, with many of these homes located in New York City. However, Jefferson County, located in northern New York state near the St. Lawrence River, holds the highest percentage of unoccupied homes. With 15,384 out of 60,041 homes, or 25.6%, of total homes unoccupied in Jefferson County. According to Stacker, the area has seen an exodus of residents, dampening demand and activity in its housing market. In 2017, Jefferson County suffered the second-most dramatic population decrease of 2.8% in the United States.

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The Top 10 Real Estate Markets for 2020

The Urban Land Institute’s annual look at the year ahead cited Austin, Texas, as the top U.S. real estate market for 2020.

“Austin is number one, rising from sixth place a year ago to first in overall real estate prospects and from fourth to first place in local expectation of investor demand in 2020,” according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report issued by ULI and PwC on Thursday. “Our analysis considered many salient features: Its slogan (“Keep Austin Weird”), deep pool of talent, unique and popular lifestyle, and ambitious commitment to business and real estate expansion.”

The 107-page report also noted Austin’s negatives:

“Traffic is an ongoing issue,” the report said. “Housing affordability pressures are rising. These could be exacerbated since Austin has the highest projected population growth rate for the coming five years among the 80 markets we analyze.”

The capital of Texas was followed by the Raleigh/Durham metro area. Describing the attributes of the No. 2 city, the report said:

“This market’s concentration of educational institutions – Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and several smaller colleges – coupled with the Research Triangle Park, has branded the area as a technology mecca, and it now has more than 89,000 tech jobs, which, at 10.9% of the employment base, ranks third behind Silicon Valley and San Francisco in tech industry share.”

Nashville, Tennessee, was No. 3.

“The local mood is ebullient, with expectations strong for continued investment and development,” the report said. “News on the corporate location front – Alliance Bernstein’s headquarters, an Amazon operations center, and the expansion of dental products firm Smile Direct Club – has bolstered confidence and generated real estate activity associated with more than 8,000 new jobs linked to these firms.”

Charlotte, North Carolina, was No. 4.

“Charlotte is attracting technology and manufacturing firms, as it continues to diversify its economy beyond the banking sector that dominated over the past 20 years,” the report said. “Charlotte has focused on infrastructure, with its airport expansion and light-rail growth emblematic of its commitment in this crucial field.”

Boston, ranked No. 5,  was the only northeast city to make it into the top 10.

“Boston enjoys strong structural advantages including its outstanding educational institutions, which act as a talent magnet, and its powerful tech industry, which accounts for 10 percent of Boston’s jobs base,” the report said. “This is an expensive area and has affordability and congestion issues to cope with.”

Rounding out the top 10: Dallas/Fort Worth was No. 6, followed by Orlando, Florida, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Here’s the full list of the top 10 markets for real estate in 2020:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  3. Nashville, Tennesse
  4. Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. Boston
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth
  7. Orlando, Florida
  8. Atlanta
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Seattle

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Emerging Trends That Will Shape Real Estate In 2020

The Urban Land Institute and PwC have just released the real estate industry’s widely anticipated industry forecast, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020. The report indicates that while real estate economists are tempering their views on economic growth in the United States, they continue to forecast steady real estate markets and returns through 2021.

The outlook remains generally upbeat amid an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war, volatility in global financial markets and the inverted yield curve for U.S. Treasury bonds, which is among the most consistent recession indicators.

In spite of these headwinds, the forecast cites adaptability to change along with discipline as key factors in the industry’s ability to withstand an economic downturn and the possibility of softer real estate demand in the years ahead.

The report states, “Reinforcing the optimism about real estate’s ability to withstand a recession is satisfaction that the property sector’s discipline in this recovery means that ‘this time it won’t be our fault’ if the economy falters. Any warning signs are arising from causes that real estate has little control over.”

The findings suggest that a willingness to embrace change and rethink growth strategies is beneficial for cities as well as the industry. Austin, the capital of Texas, is ranked first out of 80 cities in the U.S. for overall real estate prospects for 2020, followed by Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Nashville; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Boston. Other favorites for 2020 include Dallas/Fort Worth, Orlando, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

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Best Method to Secure Vacant Property: Steel Security Screens

Best Method to Secure Vacant Property: Steel Security Screens

The vacant property security specialists: DAWGS

Vacant Property Secured with DAWGS Security Screens

Properties become vacant for a variety of reasons. The home may be on the market and the previous owner has already vacated the property, a property may be going through renovations, it may be bank-owned as a result of foreclosure or it may simply be an abandoned “zombie property.”  Whatever the reason for the vacancy, the risks associated with vacant property are numerous.

Vacant Property Security Risks

Vacant properties attract squatters, vandals and criminals as well as drive down property values. Theft of equipment, materials, furniture, appliances, and fixtures are costly problems. Abandoned, boarded-up properties are also at a greater risk for fire, vandalism, defacing, and other illegal activities. 

Property owners are not just responsible for the losses and repairs resulting from break-ins, they can also be held liable for injuries that occur on the property or damage caused to neighboring properties. 

Security Options for Vacant Property

Plywood board up is common method used to secure a vacant property. Calling an emergency board up service may be appropriate for quickly securing a property or business in the wake of a fire, hurricane, tornado or other natural disasters, but it is not the best solution to secure your vacant properties under non-emergency circumstances.

There are problems with board up — it is an eyesore that does little to improve the market perceptions of the neighborhood. In fact, a boarded-up property can stigmatize the entire neighborhood and reduce the market value of an entire neighborhood. Board up is also easy to bypass, simple to remove, leaves damage to the property and is non-reusable. Board up also contributes to neighborhood blight and can invite trouble by visibly announcing that “this property is vacant” to criminals. 

Other options used to secure vacant properties include security personnel and guard dogs. There are inherent issues with these security methods as well. Security guards are costly, susceptible to human error and can be a liability if injured on the job. Guard dogs can be easily restrained or incapacitated, may damage the property and can cause harm to non-intruders. Some consider guard dogs to be in-humane.

Board up vs Steel – Trust the Experts to Secure a Vacant Property: Use DAWGS Security Screens

Unlike board up, the best vacant property security solution to limit your liability and protect your investment and other assets is DAWGS steel security screens. Door and Window Guard Systems

Board up is an eyesore

Board up lowers property values.

DAWGS) manufactures, installs and maintains impenetrable, attractive steel panels that keep your vacant properties secure and improve curb appeal.

Compared to plywood, DAWGS panels are equipped with a unique bracing system that does not cause any damage to the window or door frames. The bracing system holding the security screens in place is only accessible from the inside of the building. DAWGS window guards are also modular, this allows them to cover openings of practically any shape and size. DAWGS steel door panels are key-coded, providing managed access to the property so you control who can get in and out of the property.

Another benefit DAWGS steel security screens have over plywood board up is airflow. Air gets in while intruders stay out. DAWGS are reinforced with heavy-duty steel, sporting a unique single-piece construction that doesn’t crack under pressure. All DAWGS window screens come with aeration holes that let in fresh air and sunlight and are easy to insulate so you can heat your property all winter long. 

Steel panels don’t just offer better protection against break-ins, increasingly, cities and states are passing eyesore laws that ban plywood as a vacant property security method. Ohio was the first state to ban the use of the material in early 2017. Since then other communities have followed suit with the trend expected to continue. City and state lawmakers are banning plywood board up as a means to keep vacant properties secure while fighting neighborhood blight.

Protect your investment, improve curb appeal, stop break-ins and crime with the strength of steel door and window security screens. 

Understanding Uncertainty: Property Preservation and Maintenance in Flux

To all professionals managing the repair and maintenance of distressed properties—your cost of doing business may not be what you think it is. Xactware cost data indicated price volatility throughout many categories during 2018 and early 2019. These price fluctuations, some of which were quite sudden, rendered older and outdated pricing data sets too unreliable for making business decisions. Combined with the competitive pressures of the shrinking foreclosure market over the last ten years, using regularly updated and researched local pricing data is more critical than ever. Without proper safeguards, these dramatic shifts in costs can swing allowance thresholds and undermine profitability in ways that can seriously injure businesses over time.

Getting the numbers right. To illustrate the point, we’ll first look at retail labor rates by trade for drywallers. According to Xactware pricing trend data, 2018 average property preservation and maintenance retail labor rates rose by an average 4.3% across the board, with drywall installers showing a 10% increase. Combined with a 4% rise in the cost of drywall materials,  it’s easy to see that if the average rates for all trades were applied to servicer’s charges, they would not have accounted for the particular spike seen in the drywall industry.

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Quick Turnarounds for Foreclosure Sales

Security for Foreclosed PropertiesThe majority of foreclosure sales to third-party buyers are owner-occupied within a year, according to a new study from’s Seller Strategy Report notes that 56% sold of properties sold to third parties at foreclosure sale in Q2 2018 were Owner-Occupied a year later, compared to 43% that reverted to the lender.

Additionally, third-party foreclosure sales executed higher relative to credit bid at the foreclosure sale than did properties sold as REO, and properties sold via “Day 1” REO online auction sold on average 95 days faster than REOs sold via the MLS..

“By synthesizing the rich transactional data from our market-leading platform with public record and MLS data, we’re able to provide a holistic view of the disposition metrics that matter to distressed property sellers,” said Jason Allnutt, CEO at “At the top of that list are execution of the sale price relative to credit bid, time to sell a property, and impact on the surrounding neighborhood.”

Opportunity Zones execute higher to reserve than non-opportunity zones, with properties in Opportunity Zones that sold to third-party buyers at foreclosure auction executed 5 percentage points higher relative to reserve than properties located outside of Opportunity Zones. Homes in Opportunity Zones are cheaper, in general, as well. ATTOM Data Solutions reports that 80% of these zones had median home prices in the Q2 2019 that were below the national figure of $266,000, and that half had median prices of less than $150,000.

Additionally, compared to the surrounding regions, median Q2 2019 prices in about one in four zones were less than 50% of the typical value in the Metropolitan Statistical Areas where they exist. Within Opportunity Zones, 86% had median Q2 2019 sales prices that were less than the median sales price for the surrounding Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Roughly 26% had median sales prices less than half the figure for the MSA. Only 14% had median sales prices that were equal to or above the median sales price in the MSA.

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Examining Prices for Distressed Properties

The average sales price for properties sold at foreclosure auction in Q1 2019 increased by 8% from the previous quarter to $147,115, or 7% higher than a year ago, according to a report from This is the highest level since began recording this data in Q1 2016.

“ has digitized much of the foreclosure auction process over the past several years, giving us access to real-time transactional data from our leading marketplace that provides forward-looking insight for the distressed market as well as a good barometer for the larger retail housing market,“ said CEO Jason Allnut

The Q1 2019 Distressed Market Outlook notes that scheduled foreclosure auctions decreased 1% from a year ago nationwide but were up in 30 states, including California, Texas, Colorado and Nevada. According to the report, the declining rate of completed foreclosure auctions as a percentage of scheduled foreclosure auctions in the first quarter shows more distressed homeowners who fall into foreclosure are able to avoid a completed foreclosure.

Foreclosure auction properties sold for 20.8% below estimated market value on average in the first quarter, down from a 23.5% average discount in the previous quarter but up from a 19.7% average discount in Q1 2018.

By state, 25 states posted a year-over-year increase in the third-party buyer sales rate at foreclosure auction, including New Jersey (up 22%), Florida (up 2%), North Carolina (up 7%), Missouri (up 3%), and Virginia (up 6%). Additionally, average foreclosure auction sales prices increased from a year ago in 36 states, including New Jersey (up 22%), Florida (up 2%), Texas (up 4%), Georgia (up 3%), and Illinois (up 12%).

Twenty-five states posted an annual increase in third-party foreclosure auction sales, including Texas (up 11%), Ohio (up 34%), Virginia (up 32%), Wisconsin (up 47%), and Oklahoma (up 130%).

“Solid real estate investor demand and a limited supply of distressed properties continues to push average prices up in most parts of the country,” said Ali Haralson, Chief Business Development Officer at “Even in areas with decreasing prices, the decrease can often be explained with a shift in the type of inventory being sold at auction.



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