Hollywood’s Favorite Realtor Becomes Billion-Dollar Icon
Aaron Kirman lights a candle and waits for the black currant fragrance to fill the room. Surprisingly simple for one of the biggest celebrity real estate agents in the country, his office is sleek and minimalist, but Kirman prefers few visual distractions. The only visible decorative pieces in his office are crystals; a large citrine geode sits in a corner, and several smaller crystals rest on a tray next to his desk. According to Kirman, the citrine geode brings in energy for abundance. He contends that it’s the money-making stone. “It helps to bring luck, energy, and karma. I can’t tell if it’s helped, but I can tell you I’m doing well, and I wouldn’t dare to not have it in my office.”
Kirman, a Los Angeles native, is a big believer in spirituality. In fact, he brings in an expert to crystallize his office for energy. “There’s a whole formula to it,” Kirman says. “All of my homes that are anywhere between $45 million and $150 million have crystals and stones in them. People spend up to $80,000 on crystals. After one of my clients crystallized her home, she ended up with five offers.”
It may be the crystals, or his remarkable talent, but Kirman’s success hasn’t slowed down. It’s barely the beginning of the New Year, and Kirman has already sold “The Danny Thomas Estate” for $65,000,000. This sale coming in at the second highest sale in the history of Beverly Hills.
Kirman’s projects include a private island in the Pacific, Turks and Caicos, and The W Hotels, with $600 million in active inventory and more than $3.5 billion in sales. He has also represented unique southern California estates and renowned architectural properties, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Ennis House,” Richard Neutra’s “Kaufmann Residence,” and Frank Gehry’s “Schnabel House.”
Keeping close ties with his clientele is time-consuming for Kirman, who is President of Aaroe Estates in Beverly Hills.
“Luxury real estate is unique because of the people,” says Kirman, who frequently travels to keep up with his rolodex of existing and potential clients.
“In order to sell that life, you have to live that life,” he explains. “It’s all about being able to relate to your clients, and the best real estate agent is the one that truly understands the lifestyle, wants, and needs of his clients. That’s the agent that is going to deliver.”
“When I meet somebody from China or Paris, it’s important for me to know the best restaurants, clubs, and schools in existing neighborhoods,” he says.
Including his six assistants and interns, Kirman’s team is comprised of about 30 people, most of them junior and senior agents, who work under his guidance. Additionally, agents from all over the world rely heavily on Kirman to market their properties to his well-established wealthy global database.
When he’s not at home or at his office, you can find him socializing and networking with his clients at Cecconi’s, The Polo Lounge, Mastro’s, Sushi Park, or Nobu Malibu in Los Angeles.
As he strolls gracefully through the hallways of his office, Kirman’s Havanese dog Lucy follows him, along with one of his assistants who prepares to take Lucy for a walk.
Including phone calls, Kirman says he talks to around 200 people per day. On a typical weekday, his inbox is inundated with hundreds of laudatory e-mails from agents, as well as prospective clients that are eager to work with him.
Despite the exhausting nature of his work, Kirman remains focused on his clients. Curious, intent, and thoughtful, his capacity to listen intently to each of his clients has been credited as one of his major strengths, something that has aided in the immense success of his continued prosperous career.
The demands are high for Kirman and his team of assistants. “Sometimes my international clients need more help from me, and it can be a full-time situation. I work as a concierge, selling and finding bizarre things that people request.” One of the biggest of these is helping his clients get their children into some of the most geographically exclusive private schools in the country.
“Selling multimillion-dollar homes is dramatic for a lot of reasons. There’s a lot of emotions on both sides. A lot of our job is managing the customers’ emotions.”
Kirman is, by his own admission, a magnet for the rich and famous. “I have always been myself, no matter the company or who I am working with.” It is this honesty and genuine nature of Kirman that has allowed him to work with such exclusive clientele. “Sometimes my own candor shocks me, and yet I could never imagine it being any other way.” And that’s exactly why people gravitate towards Kirman.
“If I don’t think the property would be the right fit, I’m not afraid to be honest with my clients,” he says. “For me the relationship and the friendship is more important. Sure, I could lose a million-dollar commission, but it’s better than losing the client, their friendship, and their trust for selling an overpriced home to them.”
Kirman’s exclusive client list includes heads of industry, A-list celebrities, royalty from the Middle East, leading lending institutions, and foreign investors.
In social settings, real estate becomes a tertiary concern for Kirman, who makes human connections a priority. “Of course it comes up, but it’s not the first thing we talk about.”
Kirman attributes some of his success to the influence of his life coach, Andrea Quinn. “I think she’s changed my life in a lot of ways. I’ve been going to her for 10 or 12 years now. It’s always so helpful because she has such a different perspective and intuition,” says Kirman. “She taught me that generosity brings generosity—that the more money you split and give, the better you will feel. Helping people brings better energy into your life.”
Though he did not always have the help of a life coach, Kirman knew from a young age that he was meant to tackle the world of real estate. “I took my parents to open houses when I was nine and pretended to be a real estate agent as a game.”
But along his path, he faced several roadblocks that could have potentially deterred him from pursuing his bigger goals. He learned to overcome learning disabilities, speech impediments, and dyslexia.
“When I was in college, I got fired from my first internship because I couldn’t even deliver the mail,” says Kirman, who later climbed the rungs of luxury real estate.
He often has to remind his disciples that there are a number of prevalent misconceptions about the industry. “People look at real estate agents and think it’s such an easy job because of the reality shows. It’s a tough job and a really competitive industry.”
“If I know billionaires are going to be at events in a different city, when I’m invited, I’ll be there.”
“I’ve seen it all,” says Kirman, who is no longer surprised by luxury lifestyles. He is constantly exposed to lavish spending and extreme budgets; some of his foreign clients have spent up to $5 million on a night out with Kirman.
“I’ve experienced the lives of people you’d never imagine—people who I could never figure out how they made their billions, and I never will,” explains Kirman, who grew up in a middle-class family.
Having watched and studied others in the business, he tailors his approach frequently and masterfully. “I watch what people do and say. I watch their advertising carefully. I see what works and what doesn’t work, and then apply the lessons to my own system. This business is all about staying ahead of the curve.” And that is exactly what Kirman has done for his entire career.
Beyond his perceptive and resourceful nature, Kirman acknowledges that there is something unique about him.
He is now reaching beyond real estate to pursue new ventures and recently became an investor with actress Jessica Biel and Barry’s Bootcamp CEO Joey Gonzalez to open up Au Fudge, a restaurant in Beverly Hills.
“I only invest in businesses when I know I can add value, and when I know it circles back to my main business,” alluding to his real estate ventures.
Seeing himself as a figurative director and producer of his life, his primary concerns are balance and living out his dream.
“We’re the producers of our own movies,” he explains. “For me, it’s not just about living the way I want to, but remembering that I always need to be searching for the balance in life. I do what I want to do, I travel where I want to travel, I dine where I want to dine, but at the end of the day my true motivations are leading a more holistic life, where I have a work to life balance that maintains a positive energy around me and within. When I do all those things, business comes naturally, and success is simply the byproduct and ultimately allows me to give back to my community in a way that truly brings me happiness. If something is a little off, it can throw off everything. My take on life is this: I’m doing my best to make it right for myself.”
Aaron Kirman is the exclusive agent representing the Beverly Hills PO, California real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of his listings here.
Portrait courtesy of Aaron Kirman