Midwest Land and Home real estate and auction company has used the pandemic as an opportunity to implement strategies to continue serving its customers. The result has been innovations that the company plans to carry on indefinitely.

“Our goal in 2019 was to move into offering the option of online land auctions,” said company co-owner Jeff Dankenbring, Marysville. “We aimed to do that by the end of 2020. In early March we put the pedal to the metal on online bidding and on March 28 we had our first auction with online bidding. Our services have not stopped.”

He said the pandemic had put the company in a position to do things quicker and “not sit around and make excuses.”

Midwest Land and Home, based in Washington, also has continued to hold live auctions, with permission from the Marshall County commissioners. Those in attendance are required to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Dankenbring said that between bidding by phone, which has historically been available, and online bidding, his company is seeing an increase in participation.

Online auctions are not new to the company. Their equipment division, Midwest Auction Pros, has been conducting online auctions every Wednesday for farm and construction equipment. Dankenbring said he had expected online land auctions would be popular because in 2019, Midwest Auction Pros had bidders from six continents participate in online equipment auctions.

Midwest Land and Home plans to continue to offer online bidding for land auctions after the pandemic.

“We had an auction May 2,” Dankenbring said. “We had two phone bidders and 15 registered online bidders. We had bidders from five states. At that auction we set a record price per acre at $2,852 per acre on Washington County pastureland.”

The company expects to launch its Midwest Land and Home app for Apple and Android devices that will allow bidders to bid directly from their app.

The company has also started using new technologies that will make virtual tours of residential properties an alternative to in-person tours, Dankenbring said.

“We’ve purchased a 360-degree camera, started using our drones for exterior images and purchased a program that allows us to create a floor plan for residential properties,” Dankenbring said. “Putting all this information together has made virtual tours a reality that buyers and sellers can all benefit from. People still want to buy and sell land, equipment and residential property. We just need to take the opportunity to make it easier for them to do that through virtual tours and technology.”