Interview with Aaron Kirman – The Three Billion Dollar Man
It’s easy to see why Aaron Kirman has been so successful. Lounged on his sofa, with the California sun streaming through his ocean-side view, a relaxed air permeates our interview
It’s such daunting sales figures, including the $300 million he cleared in 2015, that have led many to highlight Aaron Kirman as the world’s top real estate agent. It’s hard to argue with that ranking. Among his sold properties you will find a $95,000,000 confidential London apartment, the Robert Taylor Ranch and the only Oscar Niemeyer ever built within North America.
A plethora of luxurious Californian mansions currently populate his stock and it’s a ‘for sale’ section that has changed in the short time it’s taken me to publish this interview.
Working with the ultra-high net worth of the world has its obvious benefits, yet Aaron remains remarkably down to earth and his exclusive interview is a compelling one. From the strange requests of potential buyers and his sales secrets to how he has ascended to become one of the world’s top real estate agents, Luxurious Magazine’s exclusive interview with Aaron Kirman is well worth a read.
LM: How did you get into real estate?
AK: I always knew it would be sales, I wasn’t particularly academic but I always knew people.
When I was younger, even as far back as seven or eight years’ old I used to drag my Mom and Dad to see houses, even when we weren’t looking to buy! I’ve always loved houses and the architectural side of things.
LM: You’ve sold more than $3 billion worth of real estate. Which sales are you most proud of?
AK: I sold an Oscar Niemeyer for $34,000,000, the only one in North America. The guy who had it was going to tear it down until Santa Monica got involved with the case. He got in contact with me to ask if we could find a buyer. I managed to do so and found the perfect buyer who didn’t want to tear the property down but instead rejuvenated it by investing millions in it. So whilst he bought it for $3 million, the property is now probably worth around $50 million and it’s absolutely beautiful.
LM: You deal with high-end and celebrity clients, what are the strangest requests you’ve had?
AK: You know, I’d say I’ve seen it all. I’ve dealt with a range of individuals from royalty and the high-net worth of the world to top celebrities. I once had a top celebrity get naked and jump in the bath during a viewing because they wanted to try it out and see how it felt.
Then, you have people who bring their mediums and psychics with them to check for ghosts and to see if a property is haunted. We’ve also had people ask to throw parties at the house, or stay there with a friend to get a feel for it. Most of the time, the client acquiesces to these demands because we’ve got to do what we can to make a sale and that involves making the buyer feel comfortable.
LM: What do you attribute your vast success to?
AK: I would say hard work, but there are plenty of people who work hard. I never have a day where I say I’m not working, because it’s kind of my life and I think you need to live the job to get to the top. Sometimes that will mean travelling extensively, I’ve been on holidays with clients in the past and have flown all over the world. But it’s also about who you know and who you can get to.
I’ll give one example, I was in Mykonos once and I had to foot the bill for a $10,000 dinner and that’s not great, but you know what? Out of that dinner, I sold an $80 million property. Ironically, the owner was the one who had caused most of the $10,000 bill, but it just goes to show.
LM: What differentiates how you market such high-end properties, compared to lower priced estates?
AK: I think you have to do everything. We’re quite often on TV, channels such as CNBC. We’re in the news and magazines. We also spend millions on advertising and marketing, using conventional and out of the box/specialized marketing ideas. We have an extensive database, full of millionaires and billionaires who we selectively reach out to. You do everything and you see what works. I can also ring up anybody I like and that’s what sets me apart.
LM: Any sales secrets you wish to share?
AK: I’d say study life, know your audience and know various audiences too. I feel that I could talk about pretty much anything thanks to the experiences I’ve had. If there was a client from Paris, I could talk about fashion, the hotel I stayed in and the club I went to when I was there. It’s important to understand the person you’re dealing with and to know what they want.
It’s also about looking ahead. I had a client viewing a $60 million property in Bel Air. They were specifically looking for a property with a view and this one had a view but it was slightly obstructed by another house and so I told him I wouldn’t buy it, because that house will always be there obstructing that view. So I found him a property with a clean view, sometimes you need to go above and beyond.
LM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
AK: Celebrate the wins and don’t dwell on the losses. I could give you so many, one I live by is, know your people. Another thing is know your skill set, if you find your niche you can kill it, nobody is perfect at everything.
LM: Are there any luxuries you can’t do without?
AK: I’m not a particularly materialistic person. I love amazing spaces, because that’s what I do. Mostly I treasure a nice, healthy life and above all else, friends and family.
LM: What does the future hold for you?
AK: The sky’s the limit. Instead of being independent I now have a team of twenty, so we’re looking to go global. I’ve also started to invest more, whether it’s charities or a client’s new restaurant, this year alone I’ve invested in five new opportunities.
We’re doing a lot with Cuipo at the moment, who are helping to save the rainforest, and I want to share my expertise and experience more. We’re doing a lot more in terms of TV and media now, which is great because I can reach and help a much wider audience.
A lot of real estate shows just focus on the fancy side of the job, but nobody is currently educating buyers and sellers about what they need to be aware of, so hopefully we can make a difference there too.
Interview conducted by Henry McIntosh