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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.


Resurrecting Zombie Homes

A solid economic recovery and red-hot housing market helped drive the vacant “zombie” foreclosure rate to new lows in the first half of 2020, even as the coronavirus crisis threatens to trigger a resurgence in these vacant properties stuck in foreclosure limbo. 

However, that trend quickly changed in the third quarter, when the zombie foreclosure rate jumped to the highest level in three years, according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions. The report shows that the zombie foreclosure rate—the percentage of all properties in the foreclosure process that are vacant—jumped to 3.7% in Q3 2020, up from 3.0% in Q2 2020 to the highest rate since Q3 2017.   

The Q3 2020 zombie foreclosure rate was still below a peak of 5.8% in Q1 2014, while the actual number of zombie foreclosure properties was down 82% over that same time period—from 43,311 nationwide in the first quarter of 2014 to just 7,960 in the third quarter of 2020. 

Where Zombies Are Rising 

The zombie foreclosure rate increased in Q3 2020 compared to the previous quarter in 127 out of 158 metropolitan statistical areas (80%with at least 100,000 residential properties, according to the data. The actual number of zombie foreclosures increased from the previous quarter in 72 of the 158 metro areas (46%), including New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, and Phoenix. 

Additionally, seriously delinquent loans secured by vacant properties could represent a more significant rise in zombie foreclosures soon. Although there is no definitive data on vacant properties with mortgages that are at least 90 days late, applying the same 3% “zombie” foreclosure rate to the 1.8 million mortgages that were seriously delinquent in June—that according to Black Knightwould translate into an additional 56,000 zombie foreclosures waiting in the wings. Given the recent sharp rise in seriously delinquent loans, that 56,000 would represent a 197% increase from the previous month and a 312% increase from a year ago. 

Great Recession Zombie Foreclosure Invasion 

Local markets and neighborhoods with high zombie foreclosure numbers back at the peak in Q1 2014—still in the midst of the cleanup from the housing carnage left over from the Great Recession—struggled to deal with the flood of abandoned foreclosures.   

“Many homes did not make it through foreclosure because servicers did not move quickly enough, either due to capacity issues or due to the decline in home prices reducing their incentive to foreclose,” said Julia Gordon, President of the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting homeownership in distressed neighborhoods. “In other cases, the robosigning scandal—in which the foreclosing parties could not demonstrate their ownership of the loan—caused judges to stop foreclosures across the board, for both occupied and vacant properties. That ultimately had unintended negative consequences for neighborhood stabilization.”  

Gordon noted that more refined foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation tools are now available and familiar to local government agencies and mortgage servicers, and at least so far, housing prices have not collapsed, making an extended delay in the foreclosure process unnecessary and unproductive.  

“You want the right tool for the job, and stopping the foreclosure process as a whole for every property—especially for vacant properties—is not the right tool,” she said. 

Zombie Buyers Still Active 

Texas-based real estate investor Aaron Amuchastegui said he’s purchased nearly 1,000 vacant houses at foreclosure auction over the past 10 years—and he continues to find zombie foreclosures that have been sitting vacant for months or even years.  

“We bought a few houses in March that had actually been vacant and abandoned for two years,” he said, adding that even the borrowers in foreclosure benefit when a zombie foreclosure is eliminated.  

“When a borrower abandons a property, they want the foreclosure to end quickly so they can get a fresh start and start rebuilding their credit. … Borrowers aren’t trying to save these houses; they want to be done with them.” 

Cleveland-based investor Josh Cantwell agreed that a completed foreclosure sale of a vacant property represents a win for distressed homeowners as well as for real estate investors and the local community.  

“We do target those properties on and other acquisition sources … that would all fall into this zombie category,” he said, explaining that a vacant property often translates into a motivated seller and a quicker turnaround for investors.  

Cantwell noted that investors are highly motivated to efficiently rehab vacant properties and get them occupied as soon as possible. 

“For an investor to make money … the goal is always occupancy, either by an owner or by a tenant,” he said, adding that he agrees with neighborhood stabilization advocates like Gordon when it comes to giving priority to owner-occupants. “You want to give homeowners that first crack at buying foreclosures, but a lot of them need so much work they are just not appealing, so investors take that role of assuming the risk.” 

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Home Renovations for the Pandemic

Renovating for a New Normal

As the country approaches the six-month mark since stay-at-home orders were enacted, and coronavirus cases surge again, millions of Americans are struggling to stay in their homes through a punishing recession. In August, a third of respondents to an Apartment List survey reported failing to make their full rent or mortgage payment on time, the highest nonpayment rate since the rental listings site began conducting the survey in April.

But the pain has not been evenly felt. While many Americans are suffering through a historic economic crisis, those who have not taken a financial hit are focused on ways to make an extended period of isolation more comfortable. Facing additional months of distance learning and working from home, some are making extensive home improvements — permanent alterations that they would not have done absent a pandemic.

As bans on construction have lifted, designers, architects and general contractors have begun fielding calls from homeowners who are looking for ways to improve or expand areas in their home for work, school and exercise. In June 2020, professionals who list their services on the home renovation site Houzz reported a 58 percent increase in requests from homeowners from June 2019, with queries about home extensions and additions up 52 percent. Some homeowners are converting garages into work studios, or adding a shed in the yard for an office. Others are renovating the basement to turn it into a yoga studio or a classroom. Those who may have started projects before the pandemic, are looking at those original design plans and realizing they need an overhaul to work in this new world order.

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DAWGS Sponsors COVID-Compliant Halloween Party for Detroit Community Non-Profit

1st Place Winner for Best Halloween Decorations

1st Place Winner for Best Halloween Decorations

When Zachary Rowe, Executive Director for Friends Of Parkside, approached DAWGS to sponsor its Annual Parkside Halloween Party, the DAWGS team didn’t hesitate to help out. Friends of Parkside (FOP) is a non-profit, community-based organization located on Detroit’s east side, in The Villages of Parkside, a public housing community. The purpose of FOP is to promote solidarity and help build self-esteem for the youth in the complex, by providing educational and employment-related resources. 

DAWGS sponsored Parkside’s 2019 Halloween Party, but due to COVID-19, a 2020 traditional Halloween Party was not possible. The children of Parkside were disappointed, and it served as yet another reminder of the impact the pandemic is having on their young lives. In spite of COVID-19, FOP was able to provide the Parkside children with a safe, fun-filled Halloween experience. “I really appreciated Brandon’s quick response to our request. Without DAWGS’ support, the event would not have been possible”, Zachary Rowe said. 

The COVID-compliant Halloween celebration involved delivering treat bags filled with candy, chips, dental care products, books, and other fun items to approximately 200 children between the ages of 3 to 12. In addition, the Friends of Parkside organization held a Halloween costume contest for children and the best Halloween Decoration Contest for parents.

Despite the pandemic, the first FOP “Reverse Trick or Treat” celebration was a success. The children of Parkside and their parents were able to have a safe Halloween celebration.

Homeowners and Buyers are the Real Winners in the 2020 Election

Volatility surrounding the 2020 presidential election has helped push mortgage rates to their 12th record low this year, giving both homeowners and buyers a boost.

The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.78% for the week ending Nov. 5, down from 2.81% the previous week and 3.69% the same week one year ago, according to Freddie Mac.

“Interest rates dropped to another record low this week … because of uncertainty around the election results,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at

“In a volatile economic environment, where the number of Americans filing for initial unemployment just last week totaled an elevated 751,000, and with low returns due to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, bond investors sought the relative safety of mortgage-backed securities.”

Mortgage rates follow loosely the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury.

Other mortgage products, including the 15-year fixed, FHA loans and jumbo mortgages, set new record lows for their average rates last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA.

With rates now close to a full percentage point lower than they were a year ago, homeowners are rushing to refinance yet again, even as so many have already refinanced in the past year. Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan were over 80% higher last week compared with a year ago, according to the MBA.

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Tips for Securing Your Vacant Property During the Cold Weather

As the temperatures drop, risks to vacant properties rise. It may only be October, but in many parts of the US, snow already blankets the ground. As temperatures continue to fall, vacant properties can become hotspots for squatters, fires, vandalism, and theft.

Now is the time to take the necessary steps to safeguard your vacant property assets with DAWGS steel door and window guards.

Cold weatherproof your vacant properties:

  • Check with your property insurer to find out if they have any specific cold-weather requirements to keep your property covered.
  • Drain the water system to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Check gutters for trapped water, ice, or other blockages. If unchecked this can cause pipes to shatter
  • Clean the property to keep pest infestations at bay.
  • Turn off the utilities such as gas and electricity. This will reduce the risk of a gas leak and deter potential squatters.
  • Check the roof for damage. Ice and snow can make roof issues worse if not kept in check.

By following these steps, and securing your property with DAWGS, your properties will remain safe during the cold weather months.

5 Real Estate Trends Have Emerged From COVID-19

Today’s real estate trends reflect the reality that, after months of quarantine, Americans who have not been economically impacted by the pandemic are looking at their homes and realizing that they want something bigger and better. “Everybody that ever wanted to do anything is doing it now,” says Stacey Oestreich, a saleswoman for Douglas Elliman in Westchester County, New York. “There has always been the holdback, but now they’re doing it. If they wanted to move out of state, they’re doing it. If they always wanted Mom to come live with them, they’re doing it.”

1. Location Independence

After months of remote work, buyers are cutting ties with the cities where they work, looking for more space and privacy in the suburbs, the country, and second-home destinations like South Lake Tahoe, Palm Beach, Hawaii, and the Hamptons. They are looking for larger homes, on large lots. Some are buying land when they can’t find what they want in a frenzied market. “They’re moving farther afield,” says Andrew Cogar, president of Historical Concepts. His architectural firm has seen an uptick in business in Maryland, the Carolinas, and Virginia. “Everyone is on Zoom. You can set up your base anywhere.”

2. A Multi-Purpose Sanctuary

As Americans work, study, and exercise at home, they are expecting much more from their homes. “People are digging into their homes in a way that we haven’t seen since the 1950s,” says designer Patrick Mele. “People want to make their homes as singular and interesting and particular to them as they can.” They want space to exercise, and not just on a Peloton bike in the bedroom but in a light-filled room that can rival that canceled SoulCycle membership. They want a dedicated home office, and probably two, with good lighting and an elegant backdrop for a Zoom call. “The pandemic reaction is all about being inside your bubble,” says Mala Sander, an associate broker with Corcoran in the Hamptons. “You are making your bubble as beautiful and accessible as possible.”

3. A Home, Not Just a Showpiece

Suzanne Kasler’s design clients are looking for spaces that are as comfortable as they are welcoming, with durable fabrics that will hold up to extra use. “Having a more comfortable and more accessible and more usable house is important because everybody is home and they need a place to go,” says Kasler. The home office, arguably the biggest “must-have” of the moment, needs to be functional, not just attractive, even if that means the printer is no longer hidden inside a cabinet. Homeowners are “not apologizing that it is a working office,” Cogar says. “Desk spaces get bigger, lighting gets better.”

4. Second Home, Primary Destination

The second home has taken on a central role for homeowners who retreated to theirs during the pandemic, and many homeowners are adding upgrades more typical of a primary residence, like more storage and expanded kitchen pantries. Those who didn’t own a second home before the pandemic are looking to buy one now, focusing on properties that could be used on a regular basis, with space for the children to study, and good wireless networks so the family can work, not just play.

Second-home markets are seeing a surge in buyers. “When I was a kid, I always said people come [here] to spend their money, not make it,” says Whitney McGurk, a sales associate at Brown Harris Stevens in Palm Beach, Florida. “Now they’re moving their businesses here” and staying longer.

5. Outdoor Expansion

Pandemic life has been one lived largely outdoors, so homes with ample outdoor space are selling fast. Homeowners want those spaces to be welcoming, with pools, cabanas, and outdoor living rooms with features like a fireplace, a television, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a pizza oven. Homeowners are also looking for quiet nooks so they can escape without ever leaving. Barn houses, sheds, garages, and carriage houses are being converted to artist studios, home offices, or classroom space for the children. Landscape architect Miranda Brooks says some of her clients are now living in the country full-time, experiencing their homes in a different way than before. As the world rapidly changes around them, she says, “They are sort of reimagining their lives.”

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Is There a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Ahead for Vacant Properties?

In light of the indomitable presence of COVID 19, many zombie foreclosures have spiked across the U.S. with Americans battling to keep up with their mortgage payments, according to ATTOM’s most recent vacant and zombies foreclosure report.

The report poses the question: Are Americans in store for a “zombie apocalypse,” which not only would hit financial institutions in their pocket, but also would jeopardize neighborhoods?

Not only have record job losses culminated from the pandemic, predictions that the economic impact will extend beyond the next several months are rampant. Just consider this: In the first four weeks alone following the White Houses’ declaration of a national emergency, more than 22 million Americans had lost their jobs. As time goes by, commentators are warning of an impending economic downturn as hard hitting and disruptive on par with The Great Depression.

According to ATTOM’s third-quarter 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report, more than 1.5 million residential properties or 1.6% in the U.S. are vacant.

What’s more, 216,000 homes that are undergoing foreclosure, 7,961 (3.7%), dwell vacant as zombie foreclosures. That means that this quarter, zombie foreclosures have parachuted.

Given the total cost of upkeep becomes their responsibility, such foreclosures are a costly proposition for banks. Undesirable neighborhoods with low property values tend to be common targets for zombie foreclosures.

Banks will derive a big boost toward circumventing costly losses a hit to their reputation by keeping a close eye in the rise in zombie foreclosures. To help more effectively mitigate risk, tapping real estate data can be a productive tool.

A report indicated that 1.6% of all homes in the U.S. are vacant, numbering 1,570,265 residential properties, with 7,960 or 3.7% of those vacant properties in the process of foreclosure, otherwise known as “zombie foreclosures.

That’s according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q3 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report.

The Company’s vacant properties analysis showed that while the number of properties in the process of foreclosure (215,886) in Q3 2020 is down 16% from Q2 2020 (258,024), the percentage of those properties that have been abandoned as zombie foreclosures is up from 3% in Q2 2020.

The report suggested that despite the increase, “as the federal government attempts to shield the housing market from an economic slide stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic, the 7,961 zombie foreclosure properties continue to represent a very small portion–just one in every 12,500 homes–of the nation’s 99.4 million residential properties.”

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Where are Zombie Properties Accumulating?

A new report indicated that 1.6 percent of all homes in the U.S. are vacant, numbering 1,570,265 residential properties, with 7,960 or 3.7% of those vacant properties in the process of foreclosure, otherwise known as “zombie foreclosures.” 

That is according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ newly released Q3 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report 

The Company’s most recent vacant properties analysis showed that while the number of properties in the process of foreclosure (215,886) in Q3 2020 is down 16% from Q2 2020 (258,024), the percentage of those properties that have been abandoned as zombie foreclosures is up from 3% in Q2 2020. 

The report suggested that despite the increase, as the federal government attempts to shield the housing market from an economic slide stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic, the 7,961 zombie foreclosure properties continue to represent a very small portion – just one in every 12,500 homes – of the nation’s 99.4 million residential properties. 

According to ATTOM’s Q3 2020 vacant property and zombie foreclosure report, states where zombie-foreclosure rates exceed the national percentage are clustered in the Midwest and South. Those states include Kansas (15%, or one in seven, properties in the foreclosure process), Missouri (11.2%, or one in nine), Georgia (11%, or one in nine), Kentucky (10.7%, or one in nine) and Tennessee (10.3%, or one in 10). 

The analysis also reports that states where the rates fall below the national level are mainly in the Northeast and West. Those states include Utah (1.1%, or one in 87 properties in the foreclosure process), Idaho (1.2%, or one in 84), New Jersey (1.6%, or one in 62), Colorado (1.8%, or one in 56) and California (2%, or one in 50). 

Among 158 metro areas analyzed with at least 100,000 residential properties in Q3 2020, the highest zombie-foreclosure rates are in Peoria, IL (16.4% of properties in the foreclosure process); Wichita, KS (15.3%); Kansas City, MO (13.4%); Omaha, NE (12.7%) and Cleveland, OH (12.6%). 

More-detailed ratio-of-”zombie-foreclosures” data is included on the ATTOM website. 

In general, the recent ATTOM article deep dives into the company’s data to uncover the top 10 “zombie-fied” ZIP codes, which include: 

Those zips include 44108 in Cleveland, OH (44.1%, 63 zombies); 44112 in Cleveland, OH (34.8%, 47 zombies); 44105 in Cleveland, OH (27.6%, 48 zombies); 61604 in Peoria, IL (25.7%, 29 zombies); 13601 in Watertown, NY (20.8%, 27 zombies); 44128 in Cleveland, OH (18.0%, 23 zombies); 44120 – Cleveland, OH (17.6%, 23 zombies); 12078 in Gloversville, NY (17.4%, 19 zombies); 60419 in Dolton, IL (16.5%, 17 zombies); and 14701 in Jamestown, NY (15.7%, 24 zombies). 

The report’s methodology is as follows: “ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed county tax assessor data for more than 98 million single-family homes and condos for vacancy, broken down by foreclosure status and, owner-occupancy status. Only metropolitan statistical areas with at least 100,000 residential properties and counties with at least 50,000 residential properties were included in the analysis.”

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10 Hottest Zip Codes in the Housing Market Now

Millennials continue to move away from cities during the pandemic in search of more affordable housing and space to raise a family, according to’s annual list of hottest ZIP codes in the USA.

Half of this year’s top markets are suburbs in the Northeast, including Rochester, New York; Melrose, Massachusetts; South Portland, Maine: Hudson, New Hampshire; and Worcester, Massachusetts.

A few factors contribute to their popularity, including easy access to both downtown amenities and outdoor space, relative affordability in a strong local economy and a large number of millennial homebuyers, the report shows.

These are the top 10 hottest ZIP codes for housing:

1. 80911: Colorado Springs, Colorado

This ZIP code is on the southern edge of Colorado Springs and about 1.5 hours from Denver. The area offers residents a great quality of life, including affordable homes, especially compared with Denver, according to Hale. The median listing price is up 6.5% year-over-year but 39% lower than the metro and 13% lower than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 13
Median list price: $287,000

2. 43068:  Reynoldsburg, Ohio

The area, which has easy access to downtown Columbus attracts young and growing families with its quiet suburban feel. The median-priced home is 37% less than the metro and 38% less than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 17
Median list price: $204,000

3. 14617: Rochester, New York

Rochester is New York’s third-largest metro area. This ZIP code is along the Genesee River and southern shore of Lake Ontario. The median listing price is up 16.6% year-over-year, but 35% lower than the metro and 51% lower than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 18
Median list price: $162,000

4. 02176: Melrose, Massachusetts

This is 10 miles north of Boston and attracts many young families who are looking for space but still want to enjoy a quick commute to the city. The median listing price is 2% higher than the metro and 95% higher than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 19
Median list price: $644,000

5. 04106: South Portland, Maine

South Portland is a short drive from Portland Head, Maine’s oldest lighthouse. This ZIP code is on Casco Bay and is part of South Portland, offering a slightly more affordable option compared with the city of Portland, while still being close to downtown. The median list price is up 4.2% year-over-year. Asking prices are 9% lower than the metro overall, but 14% higher than the U.S. median.

Average number of days on the market: 21
Median list price: $377,000

6. 66614: Topeka, Kansas

This location is on the western side of Topeka, the state capital. It attracts move-up and first-time homebuyers because of affordability and close proximity to shopping and entertainment. The median listing price is 14% more than the metro but 44% lower than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 19
Median list price: $184,000

7. 03051: Hudson, New Hampshire

Many families looking to escape the busy Boston area head just over the border, according to Hale. Known as “tax free” New Hampshire, locals enjoy a lower cost of living with no state income or sales tax. The median listing price is 12% lower than metro as a whole.

Average number of days on the market: 22

Median list price: $350,000

8. 01602: Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, an hour outside Boston, is a hot spot for families and retirees looking for three- or four-bedroom homes. Rising home prices have pushed it out of reach for many first-time homebuyers. Worcester State University is in the heart of this ZIP code and is one of the largest employers in the area. The median listing price is 14% lower than metro as a whole and 4% lower than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 21
Median list price: $318,000

9. 22152: Springfield, Virginia

This area, inland of the Potomac River, offers a mix of townhomes and single-family homes that provide options for first-time and move-up buyers as well as considerable green space with Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park to the east and Lake Accotink Park to the north. The median listing price is 8% higher than the rest of the metro and 68% higher than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 7
Median list price: $553,000

10. 27604: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh’s affordability draws many buyers from more expensive cities. The area offers residents a variety of basketball programs to watch, including Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The median listing price is 27% lower than the metro and 17% lower than the national median.

Average number of days on the market: 25
Median list price: $273,000

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The Fall 2020 Real Estate Market Is Abnormally Hot

The coronavirus pandemic has remade what’s normal, and home buying is no exception. Typically, the real estate market tends to hit the brakes in the fall, as kids return to school and families juggle work, extracurriculars and the upcoming holidays.

But that’s not what’s happening as we head into the second week of September, closing in on the official start of fall: Sept. 22. Homes are getting snapped up faster as home values rise and mortgage rates continue to slide.

“Home sales are currently stronger than they were pre-pandemic and show no signs of slowing,” says Cheryl Young, senior economist at Zillow. “Demand is being fueled by low mortgage rates. We’re also seeing deferred home buying as the economy and housing market pressed pause in the spring.”

The median listing price on single-family homes grew for the 17th straight week, jumping 10.8% year-over-year, which is the most rapid growth in over two years. Meanwhile, mortgage rates have broken new records. The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now at 2.86%, and the 15-year hit 2.37% this week—both all-time lows, according to Freddie Mac’s recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

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