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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.


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.


Top 6 Home Renovations for the Best ROI

Renovations can make us happier in the places we call home, but some of the most dramatic updates can add real value when it’s time to sell.

6 home renovations that return the most at resaleSince kitchen, deck and other upgrades can represent a significant cost, it’s helpful to know what kind of return you might expect before you decide to write a check.

“Budget is the number one pain point for most remodeling professionals when they meet with potential clients,” says Clayton DeKorne, chief editor of the JLC Group, a collection of magazines serving building professionals. Since 2002, the organization’s Remodeling, a magazine for the construction industry, has produced the annual Cost vs. Value report, which examines the cost of popular home renovations versus the return on investment (ROI) at resale.

The 2019 Cost vs. Value report compares the average cost of 22 remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 U.S. markets, based on a survey of 3,000 real estate agents and firms. It’s important to note, however, that costs can vary greatly by region based on the cost of labor and materials, as well as the level of service offered by individual remodelers.

In any project, there are the so-called hard costs of labor and materials, but the real value is a combination of personal enjoyment and additional value at the time of a home sale.

“There’s no project on the list that returns lower than 50 percent,” DeKorne explains. “On the lower end of the ROI spectrum are the bigger-ticket projects that have a whole lot of personal selection involved, such as choosing finishes in a bathroom remodeling project. They may or may not translate from one buyer to the next, but there is value in those personal finishes. A homeowner is going to get enjoyment in those things while they’re living there.”

Whether you plan to stay in your house for a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value. Here are the six home remodeling projects that deliver the highest returns.

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DAWGS Sponsors Christmas in July Event

DAWGS recently sponsored Lipstick Saints’ annual “Christmas in July” event held on July 13, 2019 at the Chicago Hope Cafe. This event provided an opportunity for the girls to give back. At the event, Lipstick Saints members created hygiene bags that will be donated to young ladies in the DCFS system. The event also included empowerments sessions led by inspiring role models Mo Brown and Kiyona Taylor.

“We are happy to have local businesses like DAWGS see the value in what we are doing and step up to support our cause” commented Mo Brown, Founder of Lipstick Saints. “We are always happy to support outstanding causes in our city, like Lipstick Saints. Chicago is where DAWGS started and is headquartered, we have received great support here, we just want to give back to this community” Jim Glass, VP Engineering for DAWGS

DAWGS Supports Local Non-Profit Lipstick Saints

After 3 years, DAWGS continues to support Lipstick Saints mission — to enrich inner city teenage girls lives through social experiences, and positive reinforcement.

The organization specifically assists teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years with their self-esteem and confidence. Those who oversee the organization, including Mo, have themselves faced many of the same challenges these inner city teen girls face. The strong women leading Lipstick Saints have overcome their own challenges and they now represent a diverse group of professional women who are refined, compassionate, and graceful. These Lipstick Saints role models are dedicated to helping inner city teenage girls live happier and healthier lifestyles.

Seven Property Investor Tips from the Pros

As a new or even seasoned investor, finding the best markets to invest in is crucial to long-term success. But what are the characteristics that define a market as among the best? Here are seven tips for all investors wanting to find the best real estate markets to invest in when it comes to rental properties or a buy-and-hold strategy.

1. Look for a rent-to-value ratio of 1%.

One of the quickest, easiest ways to determine if a rental property is a smart investment is the rent-to-value (RTV) ratio. For example, if a $100,000 property will rent for $1,000 per month, the RTV is 1%. Generally, if a property meets the 1% RTV, it is a viable investment to consider. A and B Class neighborhoods and properties may fall below the 1%. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad choices. However, if the RTV falls below 0.9%, you may not be getting the best return for your investment. If your aim is to maximize cash flow, the 1% RTV is important.

2. Rental demand is important.

Many major cities will have large percentages of renters, but many smaller markets may also be good places to find high percentages of renters. For example, the Midwest markets of Dayton, Ohio, and Middletown, Ohio — where I work and invest — have renter percentages between 40% and 50%. This is a strong correlation for a successful buy-and-hold strategy. If the population of renters falls below 30%, you’re likely looking at a market that may have trouble attracting renters because of location, price point or some other reason. Ideally, strive for markets with a 35%-60% renter population. A number higher than 60% can also indicate a market that doesn’t attract owner-occupied buyers, which isn’t positive either.

3. Diverse economy is key.

Beyond assessing whether the property is a good investment, you must evaluate the market you’re investing in. What are the large industry players? Is the city attracting new business? If so, what kind? You want to ensure that there is long-term support in the market for employment and future growth. If a market is heavily manufacturing, will those jobs be replaced with robotic technology? If a market is heavily based on tourism, could a natural disaster or a recession deplete the attraction for tenants? A diverse economy is key. This supports long-term stability, attraction for young professionals and a way to recession-proof the market (if a market relies on one industry, it could easily be wiped out during a recession, depending on what businesses fail during that time).

4. Don’t limit your location.

The mistake that many investors make is limiting their investments to a radius around their home. The old adage was to invest within an hour drive from home. However, the great expanse of the internet and technology has made this just that — an old adage. The emergence of firms like ours, known as turnkey investment companies, has made investing in markets away from your personal home possible. Turnkey companies specialize in finding promising rental properties, rehabbing them to certain standards, finding tenants and setting up property management for investors who live anywhere. I always say, “Live where you want. Invest where it’s smart.” If you confine your search to your local market, you will likely be missing out on some of the best investment markets. 

If you choose to invest in the best markets, they’re likely not within a close range to home (see No. 4). Therefore, it is important to find a great team with boots on the ground in the market you want to invest in. Find a turnkey company or team that lives and works in the area they’re investing in. There are many companies that invest and operate remotely. This means their home office is located in one city, while they’re selling properties in a market many states away. This is not ideal. You want a team that can easily access your investment on any given day if an issue occurs. Be sure to thoroughly vet any company before signing on to work together.

6. Think like an investor, not a homeowner.

Too often, investors base their purchase decision on where they would live. Cities in the Midwest may not be an East Coaster’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t many that millions of other people aren’t choosing to live, work and raise families there. If there is evidence to support a large renter population and the numbers for the investment make sense after your due diligence, don’t cancel the deal based on personal feelings on the market. Even more granular, don’t discount a property with a paint color or layout that you don’t personally enjoy. If the numbers make sense, and a renter is paying the rent amount, don’t let the purple shutters bother you that much. After all, you could always spend $100 to get the shutters painted.

7. Finally, look for boring markets.

Boring markets are best for buy-and-hold investors. Here’s why: Markets that have large ups and downs in terms of their real estate market can be turbulent. Markets like Las Vegas were hit hard in the recession. Many residents moved out, not only hurting the local economy, but also the renter population. Demand went down. Rent prices dropped, and cash flow for investors in that market took a tumble. Markets that are stable over the long term, that don’t have large ups and downs, will generally survive a recession without a huge hit. If you’re building a portfolio for cash flow purposes, or even banking on selling off assets in the future with a bit of appreciation earned, this is a very important point to consider.

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Home Prices Continue Upward Trend

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index (HPI) revealed national home prices rose 3.6% year-over-year in May 2019.

The report adds that CoreLogic is forecasting prices to increase 5.6% from May 2019 to May 2020. The May 2019 gains was lower than the 6.4% increase of May 2018, but a slight increase from March 2019’s 3.3%.

Homes in the lower-price tier saw the largest annual increases at 5.4%. The middle low-to-middle tier rose 4.5%, middle-to-moderate price tier increased 4%, and the high-price tier jumped 3%.

CoreLogic stated the overall HPI has increased annually every month since March 2012, and grown 61.1% since bottoming out in March 2011. The overall HPI in May 2019 was 8.3% higher than its pre-crisis peak in April 2006. Home prices increased 2.6% year-over-year in May 2019, and were 11.6% below their peak.

For the eighth-consecutive month Idaho led the nation in annual appreciation, coming in at 10.7% in May 2019. North Dakota had its 11th month of annual HPI decreases, and saw home prices depreciate at 1.7%.

Home prices in 39 states, including the District of Columbia, have risen above their pre-crisis peaks. California, Idaho, and Michigan have surpassed their pre-crisis peaks as of May 2019.

Connecticut’s home prices in May 2019 were 17.6% below the July 2006 peak, which is the largest gap in the nation. Home price cooling was most evident, according to CoreLogic, in Washington, California, and Nevada.

Rising home prices are an issue for prospective buyers, as a study by found that half of today’s home buyers are looking for a property under $288,000, which is more than 9% below the median price for homes currently on the market.

The results of the study found that home’s priced below $288,000 is 9.1%, or $27,000 under the national average.

“The price differences between what buyers are searching for, closing on, and what’s available on the market demonstrates just how big the gap is for entry-level home buyers,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for states that closing that gap won’t come easy, and estimates that approximately that 94,000 homes priced between $100,000 and $340,000 would need to be put up for sale achieve that balance.

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The True Cost of Vacant Property Examined by DAWGS

The Vacant Property Problemvacant property security and vacant property protection for Zombie real estate

Abandoned and vacant properties are not just eyesores, they pose a real threat to public safety. When not properly secured, a vacant property, especially in a distressed area, will attract criminal activity. Drug and theft calls to the police are more than double in communities with abandoned buildings.

Another threat to public safety results from fires in vacant buildings. Arson and accidental fires in vacant structures cause numerous deaths and injuries and cost millions of dollars in property damage annually. Fires in vacant properties unnecessarily put the public and firefighters at risk.

Homeowners also pay the price

The true costs to communities with vacant properties affect homeowners who take on the financial burden associated with abandoned buildings and crimes that take place. Studies reveal that property values are decreased in neighborhoods with vacant properties. In addition to plunging property values, homes in close proximity to abandoned properties often times have higher insurance premiums. Higher premiums are assessed due to the risks associated with abandoned properties.

Steel Door and Window Guards Stop Break-ins

A vacancy not properly secured only exasperates these problems. The issue raised by a lack of security is what should be done with abandoned buildings to reduce or eliminate these problems. In distressed neighborhoods, the only sure way to stop break-ins and reduce crime is with DAWGS steel door and window guards. DAWGS recently surveyed Property Investors, Rehabbers and Real Estate Professionals who have used steel door and windows guards to secure their vacant properties. These property stakeholders agreed that steel is the most effective material when it comes to safeguarding a vacant property in distressed neighborhoods.

With the help of DAWGS steel door and window guards offering a security solution for abandoned houses, investors may feel more confident about turning liabilities into assets when it comes to a vacant property. The repurposing of abandoned buildings presents opportunities not only for financial growth for investors, but it also presents an opportunity to reduce levels of crime associated with vacant properties.

Tips for Investing in Vacant and Abandoned Properties – vacant and abandoned properties turning liabilities into assets


When it comes to buying vacant and abandoned properties, the first thing to note is that a vacant property has the potential to encounter a few more problems than usual. Since the property is sitting vacant, there may be damage from bugs, mice, or vandalism. While these issues could create a small speed bump for your investment deal, they should instead be thought of as factors that would increase the likelihood of a sale from the owner’s point of view.

Similarly, vacant properties, like any, demand upkeep. They may fall victim to a number of issues simply by sitting untouched over a given period of time. Depending on the amount of time a property has been vacant, sellers may not even realize how much upkeep should be going into the home. For those wondering how to buy a vacant property, consider the seller’s motivation: they may be ready to part ways with the home because of their current holding costs.

Find out what you need to know to successfully invest in and profit from repurposing vacant properties.




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