March 24, 2023

Top LA Broker Aaron Kirman Breaks Down Why He’s Leaving Compass

  • Aaron Kirman, a top real-estate agent, has racked up more than $1.6 billion in sales in 2022.
  • The broker to Hollywood’s elite is leaving the embattled brokerage Compass for Christie’s.
  • He said he doesn’t think Compass’ tech is essential to his work and he wants international reach.

Aaron Kirman, the Los Angeles real-estate agent known for having star-studded clients like Rihanna and Orlando Bloom, said on Tuesday that he’s leaving Compass for a new partnership with Christie’s.

Kirman leads 160 agents in what RealTrends, a company that ranks real-estate brokers, has called a “mega team.” RealTrends identified the Aaron Kirman Group as the top-grossing mega team from Compass last year, with an annual sales volume of $1.1 billion. Kirman said sales so far this year have exceeded 2021’s sales despite the down market, totaling $1.6 billion.

Kirman is one of several high-profile brokers who’ve left Compass, which has had a tumultuous year.

It’s common for real-estate brokerages to struggle during a cooling housing market, when fewer people are buying and selling homes. But the company posted a $494 million loss in 2021 during a historically hot real-estate market.

This year, Compass has laid off 1,000 people in two rounds as its stock price has fallen by 60%. The layoffs did not impact agents; in fact, the company said when reporting third-quarter earnings that the average number of agents increased 15% from this time last year. Compass reported a $154 million loss in the third quarter.

“It’s no secret that Compass is in a difficult situation,” Kirman said, though he added that he believes the company will eventually succeed again.

“We wish Aaron all the best in starting his own company and look forward to continuing to work with him,” a Compass spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Insider.

Some of the cuts Compass made were to its much-touted proprietary technology that agents use to market properties and generate leads. Compass used that platform —along with incentives to agents like cash bonuses, equity in the company, and generous commission splits — to lure brokers from other established firms.

But Kirman said he felt Compass was always a traditional brokerage, not a tech giant.

“At the end of the day, it is a real-estate company,” he told Insider. “They have many stores and many offices with a layer of technology.”

Kirman said his team uses in-house technology that harnesses artificial intelligence to track housing-market moves. “We have the ability to see what’s happening in any given city in real time to be able to predict future marketplaces,” he said.

Kirman said he’s partnering with Christie’s International Real Estate which has offices in 48 countries, to expand the team’s reach outside Southern California.

“What we noticed is people who are buying luxury houses often buy many — from London to Hong Kong to Los Angeles to New York,” he said.