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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.


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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The Coronavirus Housing Market: Better to be a Seller or Buyer


While the number of Americans buying homes is increasing as the coronavirus spreads across the country, now may not be the best time to sign a mortgage contract, according to Contrary to the myth that it’s a “terrible time to sell a home,” the seller’s market is hot, putting some buyers at a disadvantage, the real-estate website reported.

“Buyers outnumber sellers in the housing market, which means it’s better to be a seller than a buyer,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at, said in a statement. Overall home listings dropped in July, and with buyers competing against each other, more are likely willing to make higher bids for certain properties, according to the website.

Consequently, housing prices are rising in most major U.S. metropolitan hubs as Americans adjust to working from home to avoid coronavirus infection. A number have opted to give up tiny downtown dwellings for larger living spaces and yards in the suburbs.


In the second quarter of 2020, a whopping 96 percent of metro areas showed home price appreciation, and 15 cities reported double-digit growth, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

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Steel Shines for Securing Vacant Property

DAWGS team of vacant property specialists has long promoted the benefits of steel over alternative materials when it comes to securing vacant property. A survey conducted by DAWGS validated their position, that steel is the preferred material used by vacant property owners and manager to secure their properties. The survey also highlighted concerns vacant property stakeholders face if a property is not property secured.

The goal of the survey was to poll investors, owners, rehabbers, asset managers and sellers of vacant property to understand the issues they face when securing a vacant property in economically distressed areas. The survey also provided insight into the preferred method/material used to secure vacant properties in economically distressed areas.The survey revealed that when securing vacant property in economically distressed areas, hands down, steel is the preferred material over plastic clear boarding and plywood:

Security Concerns

The top vacant property security concerns were different for realtors, for owners and for investors. Realtors top concern was safety when showing a property. For rehabbers, the main concern was theft of materials or tools from the job site. Investors and asset managers were concerned about the liability of fire or crime at the property. The aggregate of security concerns for all respondents listed liability of fire or crime at the property as the top concern:

Liability of fire or crime at property   75%
Copper theft from property   71%
Theft of materials from job site   68%
Squatters or drug use in property   68%
Realtor safety when showing property   57%
Perception of foreclosure’s impact on other property value   50%
Allowing passersby to look inside property while under construction   50%

Where all respondents did agree – was that steel is their material of choice used to secure vacant properties. Steel was revealed as the best choice to mitigate the risks and security concerns associated with securing vacant properties in economically distressed neighborhoods.

For anyone who works with vacant property in economically distressed areas, property managers, asset managers, rehabbers or realtors, the material used to secure and protect their property interests really does matters. It is clear from the DAWGS vacant property security survey that steel is the material of choice.

Discover Why the Real Estate Experts All Agree that the Second Home Market is Hot

As rental prices are steadily climbing, inventory and mortgage rates have remained low during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented circumstances have sparked a change in how people want to live. More than ever before, people are longing for additional space and more natural surroundings for the sake of their mental health and well-being as many are envisioning how they can work from home more in the long-term.

Resilience Found in the Market for Second Homes

The coronavirus pandemic has not only pushed apartment dwelling New Yorkers to seek more space and nature outside of the city, it has also untethered them from their downtown workplaces as companies have embraced remote working. The result is a phenomenon that boasts the benefits of “co-primary” homes:

“Secondary homes are more popular than ever. People may own or rent smaller homes close to their office. Buyers are realizing that they may not have to go to their office each day.  Virtual jobs are in place and employers are seeing the positive results…Expansive, private yards and especially those with a pool are surely a winner!  Bidding wars are more common than ever with some homes going in one day with five different competing offers.  Everyone is enjoying being close to beaches, beautiful neighborhoods and homes.” (Pat Mayer, Diane Turton Realtors)

For those that are confident financially, instead of trading up in the city or simply purchasing a second seasonal home, these residences function more as equal homes to their current address. As the mindset shifts in how people think about a primary residence, we are seeing people lengthen the tether that connects work and home, allowing them to spend more time in an alternate residence. However, homes boasting traditionally desirable amenities have proven to have a tight grasp on their desirability:

“Whether someone is looking to purchase a vacation home for their own family or if they are looking to purchase a Vacation Rental with income potential, I usually direct them to the current towns with attractions and areas to kayak, paddleboard, restaurants, dog parks, running or cycle paths, and more.” (Kaycee Cavicchia, Jersey Shore Realtor)

rental prices are steadily climbing, inventory and mortgage rates have remained low during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented circumstances have sparked a change in how people want to live. More than ever before, people are longing for additional space and more natural surroundings for the sake of their mental health and well-being as many are envisioning how they can work from home more in the long-term.

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Pandemic home remodeling is booming: Here’s what your neighbors are doing


  • Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, reported a 58% annual increase in project leads for home professionals in June.
  • Those working on outdoor spaces saw the biggest increase in demand, with searches for pool and spa professionals three times what they were a year ago.
  • Poolcorp, an international distributor of swimming pool supplies, parts and outdoor living products, hit a new intraday all-time high this week and is up over 54% this year.

There is a lot of activity in Justin Sullivan’s backyard, as workers hammer out his new deck, and jackhammers pound through the basement.

Concrete for the new pool has already been poured. The Sullivans had planned a renovation before the pandemic hit, but then suddenly it became a much bigger project.

“The pool, the home gym, the sauna — those are things that when you’re not able to go out, your house is an enjoyable space where you can live bunker-style and still be active, still feel comfortable, and still enjoy,” said Sullivan. “The kids will have spaces to make sure they can work from home, and when it gets really hot in the summertime, they’ll have a place where they can cool off.”

The Sullivans are far from alone in their desire to create a retreat, even if that retreat is in their own basement. Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, reported a 58% annual increase in project leads for home professionals in June.

Those working on outdoor spaces saw the biggest increase in demand, with searches for pool and spa professionals three times what they were a year ago. Not far behind, landscape contractors, deck and patio professionals all saw more than double the demand.

Pool demand is so strong that even Wall Street investors are taking note. Poolcorp, an international distributor of swimming pool supplies, parts and outdoor living products, hit an intraday all-time high this week and is up over 54% year to date. The stock is on pace for its best year since 2003.

Much like real estate agents, remodeling professionals are now adapting to a new world of social and professional distancing.


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DAWGS Saves Chicago Property from Demolition

On June 12th, 2020, the City of Chicago, acting on an emergency default order, was getting ready to demolish a home in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The demolition never happened because of the swift action from the Chicago-based DAWGS team.

The vacant property, managed by REO Broker Ryan Smith, happened to be secured by DAWGS steel door and window guards. Prior to demolition, the City of Chicago representative saw the DAWGS phone number on door and window guards and contacted DAWGS informing them of the pending demolition. DAWGS VP, Operations, Jim Glass immediately contacted Ryan and made him aware of the situation, providing Smith the opportunity to prevent his asset from being destroyed. 

Ryan Smith states “DAWGS really stepped up and their value was proven on June 12th, 2020 when I received a call from Jim Glass informing me that Chicago was activating an emergency default order on an asset we had secured with DAWGS. Having DAWGS on the property delayed the demo just long enough for me to reach out to the City of Chicago and prevent the asset from being razed. If it were not for DAWGS being on the property, we would have lost the asset.”

After stopping the demo, the city of Chicago gave Ryan 24 hours to finalize securing the property. The building had about 15 windows and doors on the second floor which were not reachable during the initial install. DAWGS was on-site within hours, the same day, to ensure the asset was completely secure. All of this transpired on a Friday afternoon in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Smith commented, ”I would never use board-up again after having the relationship I have with DAWGS. If you are not using DAWGS, you risk losing too much money.”  

Ryan and his team oversee property assets in and around the Chicagoland area. Ryan started using DAWGS about 4-5 years ago because of security issues he was experiencing in some higher risk areas of Chicago. Ryan goes on to say “DAWGS provides a product which is truly unique and essential in the management of default assets, I sleep easily when my properties are secured with DAWGS.”

The relationship with DAWGS does not stop once your property has been secured, they remain a business partner from installation of their product through removal. DAWGS can even remotely manage the entire process of securing your vacant properties.

About Smith REO

Smith specializes in the REO niche representing clients throughout the Chicagoland area.  Smith REO are experts in the default industry while working to provide their clients with unprecedented value. Having been involved in over 4,000 transactions, Smith REO consistently ranks in the top 1% of brokers in the country. Contact Smith REO

7 Home Renovations to Avoid During COVID-19

Quarantine means spending way more time at home—and for some people, that also means noticing everything you want to change about your space. But is now a good time to take on a major renovation project?

Probably not, experts say.“If you’re not already in the middle of a renovation, I don’t think right now is the time to start a big project,” says Katie Kurtz, a real estate agent in Minneapolis and home design blogger at Adorned Homes. “You could get into the middle of it and realize you need help with it, and you’re probably not going to be able to find anyone to come in.”

In compliance with social distancing guidelines, many contractors are limiting the number of people on work sites, which means projects are taking longer than usual, Kurtz says.

So, which projects should you avoid tackling during a pandemic?

  1. Anything that requires precious PPE
  2. Sky-high projects on a ladder
  3. Projects that bring too many cooks into the kitchen (or bathroom, or living room…)
  4. Projects with heavy equipment or materials
  5. Noisy projects that annoy the neighbors
  6. Demolition that generates lots of garbage
  7. Expensive projects that overly improve your home

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US Housing Markets Most at Risk from Coronavirus

Here’s where coronavirus will impact the housing market the most

The spread of COVID-19 has decimated entire sectors of the American economy, bringing industries like airlines to a halt and rendering almost 10 million Americans unemployed. The housing market is at risk from a number of different angles too, but it’ll be months before we know where and to what extent housing suffers.

In an attempt to see what markets might be most vulnerable to the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus, ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, analyzed 483 counties in the United States—those with a population of at least 100,000 and at least 100 home sales in the first fiscal quarter of 2020—and ranked them according to how at risk they are.

ATTOM concludes that much of the East Coast—New Jersey and Florida in particular—has the most counties with housing markets vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, while the West Coast and Midwest have a better chance of a limited impact.

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