Secrets of a Billion-Dollar Real Estate Agent

Courtesy Benjamin Benoit

Aaron Kirman is the star of Listing Impossible on CNBC.

There are plenty of real estate agents that sell luxury properties. But one stands out among all the rest. Aaron Kirman has racked up more than $7 billion (yes, with a "b") in sales over his career and counts Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Orlando Bloom as clients. Incredibly, he's overcome numerous challenges—learning disabilities like dyslexia, being LGBTQ, and coming from a low-income upbringing—to become one of the nation's top-producing agents. And he does it all in a t-shirt. We caught up with Kirman to find out how he became a billion-dollar agent, what celebrities look for in a listing, and the craziest home he's ever sold.

How do you become a billion-dollar real estate agent?

"You become a billion-dollar real estate agent through hard work, dedication, education, a lot of mistakes, strategizing and planning, teamwork, solid relationships, and a good team to help carry things through."

RELATED: How COVID-19 Has Changed What Buyers Are Looking for in Their Next Luxury Home

Exterior of Danny Thomas Estate at 1187 North Hill crest
Courtesy Simon Berlyn

What's the most over-the-top home you ever sold?

"One of the craziest homes I've ever sold was the Danny Thomas Estate. It was a $65 million house that they literally tore down after purchase to build a new one. It was on a spectacular promontory with great views overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Another crazy house I sold was Case Study 21—a 1,200-square-foot home that I sold for $4,750,000, setting the bar for the highest price per square foot sold."

Exterior or Case Study 21
Courtesy Matthew Momberger

What's the craziest experience you've had as an agent?

"Being a billion-dollar real estate agent leads to crazy experiences every single day. To say that some of our clients are eccentric is probably an understatement. We've dealt with lots of unreasonable and irrational clients. We've seen very inappropriate things laying around people's homes that are probably better left unsaid."

Why do stars choose to work with you?

"Stars flock to us because they trust us and know we always have their best interest at heart. We talk them out of buying houses more than we talk them into buying houses. We respect their privacy and keep everything confidential. We keep their story untold as much as we can, but unfortunately, it's often difficult to avoid because they are public figures. When that's the case, we tell them the truth and let them know it's probably going to come out and then help them prepare for it."

RELATED: There's a Land Rush for International Real Estate Right Now—Here's What to Know

What do celebrities look for in a home?

"Privacy is first and foremost for stars. That and security. They want to know that people can't see in. They also don't want to be on one-way streets where they can potentially get stuck. No visibility from the front and back would also be very important. They tend to have a staff and entourage, so they require bigger properties. However, privacy, security, and clearance of the street remain the most important for them."

Why wear a t-shirt instead of a traditional suit?

"I believe that you should always wear what is comfortable to you and what drives you to be successful. What drives me to be successful is comfort. I'm comfortable in a t-shirt and not a suit."