A real estate leap of faith: starting up during a pandemic

Dashmir Barolli and his wife Rosaria, both Shepparton natives, made the decision to open up their own Melbourne-based real estate agency in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit.

Dashmir, known as Dash, tells OzHomeNews that when it came to opening a thriving business during COVID-19 he felt “having good mentors, foreseeing possible problems and being patient” were his biggest tickets to success.

After honing his real estate skills for seven years in the Wynham region and winning several company awards, Dash decided it was time to pursue his dream alongside his wife Rosaria.

Dash Barolli

“It was in my most recent position at Brad Teal Real Estate, when COVID-19 hit, that the plan to open our own agency finally came to fruition,” Dash says.

“I’d always wanted to start my own business and in real estate whether you’re an agent working for a company, or working for yourself, your duties stay very similar.

“At that stage in the year a lot of places were feeling the pressure, especially long-standing businesses that were dealing with this new unpredictable market.

“Sales weren’t coming in as they usually would, so we saw it as a prime opportunity to take a leap on our own – a big growth opportunity”

Dash Barolli

Rosaria has eight years of property management experience under her belt, managing more than 250 properties throughout her career. Her skills teamed with Dash’s sales experience worked out to be the perfect mix for the business.

Rosaria Barolli

“She runs the property management side of things, and I handle the sales side – we both worked together to get through the changes that COVID-19 brought to the business,” Dash explains.

“During COVID-19, the biggest daily changes were complying with social distancing and managing inspections with the new rules. Our CRM system ‘eagle software’ has been great – they provided QR codes for the business to use.”

Dash says that at the beginning inspections came to a halt, so they decided to focus on rentals and their property management skills.

“We made sure we were giving good advice and stopping people from panic-selling their properties – reassuring them there would be a better time and building solid relationships.

“We kept our overheads low, and kept a close eye on all of our spending. It may be tempting to rush in, get a big office set up and sign a bigger lease but that’s not always feasible.

“Getting in contact with mentors that have been in the real estate business for a long time is also a must,” he advises.

Dash is a big believer in the value of looking at other real estate businesses and learning by example.

“We looked at instances where people went in too hard, too fast with space and employees and what it had done to the business – this inspired us to start small.

Despite all their preparation, it definitely hasn’t been easy for the Barollis, but Dash says asking yourself the hard questions before you start makes things a lot easier.

“Above all, understand that real estate is going through a transformation period and just try to adapt to the changes as they come,” he says.

While the market pressed pause during COVID-19, Dash says they’ve seen a strong rebound in Melbourne and its surrounding areas.

“We very recently opened a second office in Shepparton that will focus on properties in regional Victoria.

“Shepparton, has gone up around 20 per cent and for a low- to medium-sized area with a market that previously hadn’t moved, it’s pretty amazing.

“We’re now looking at getting someone in to man the Melbourne store while Rosaria and I will look after the Shepparton branch.”

Dash and Rosaria are looking forward to servicing their home town from the new Barolli head office in Shepparton for 2021.


Barolli Real Estate
3/112-114 Fryers Street, Shepparton, Vic

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