John Aaroe, the legendary Los Angeles-based Realtor, is once again returning to the industry from which he has twice announced his retirement.
Pacific Union International — which merged with the John Aaroe Group (JAG) in December 2016 — announced Monday that the iconic luxury real estate leader will be joining the company as a strategic adviser. He first announced his retirement in 1998 following the sale of John Aaroe & Associates to Prudential California, and again in September of last year.
“When the opportunity was created to work with the people for whom I have the greatest respect and for the brand I specifically selected to represent my legacy, I became very excited,” Aaroe told Inman in an exclusive interview. “It is not in my nature to totally disengage from the challenges and opportunities this industry has to offer.”
Aaroe, a veteran of the industry for nearly 45 years, announced his retirement in September 2017, eight years after founding JAG. In the years prior to the merger, the real estate group bloomed into 450 real estate professionals with $2.5 billion in sales volume.
This isn’t the first time Aaroe has returned to the industry after sailing off into the sunset. He previously retired in 1998, after he sold his brokerage business John Aaroe & Associates to Prudential California. Aaroe told Inman that this third act comes at a time when he’s never seen more opportunity for growth and success on the horizon than over the next several years.
“I would like the last chapter of my career to be one in which I can draw upon my decades of experience,” Aaroe said. “To articulate the professionalism, established track record and value-added benefits of the Pacific Union brand and professional sales associates.”
In his new role, Aaroe will be tasked with supporting a number of the company’s core initiatives, including its growth strategy and company philanthropic efforts.
“As a company owner, you are required to wear many hats, some of which came naturally and others being a greater challenge,” Aaroe said. “In my role as strategic adviser, I will have the flexibility to focus on the needs of Pacific Union and our real estate professionals in the areas where I may have learned the most or areas in which I can operate with great efficiency.”
Over a long career, Aaroe has had many roles, he explained, from sales to launching one of the earliest estates divisions in the nation.
“If I reflect on the common thread it would be to accept the inevitable changes that were required by each, to step out of my area of comfort,” he added. “Be willing to think outside the conventional boundary lines. It’s OK to be frightened. It’s OK to make a mistake as long as you own it and learn from it.”
Aaroe’s return to the industry comes on the heels of a new initiative for Pacific Union: the launch of Private View, an online estate marketplace that features homes not for sale on the multiple listing service or third-party sites like Zillow. The site currently has over $200 million in listings.
Pacific Union has also continued to climb the ranks, recently placing fifth on the list of the nation’s largest brokerages by sales volume, according to Real Trends. The San Francisco-based company was previously ninth on the list, when it merged with JAG. Pacific Union also merged with Partners Trust, Gibson International and Empire Realty Associates in 2017.
“When I made the election to merge my former company, I did so at a time when I had the luxury to carefully select the partner I felt was best suited for what JAG represented: a fine reputation, an agent-centric culture — to this day I believe I work for the sales professionals — ethical, professional and committed to being the best possible representatives for our clients,” Aaroe said. “I wanted a partner that would ensure the sales associates were going to be supported by enhanced resources, innovative tools, accurate data and cutting-edge technology and exposure.”
Aaroe also praised Pacific Union and its CEO Mark McLaughlin for making smart decisions rapidly and adopting them quickly.
“The team is nimble, cohesive and highly skilled,” he added. “Some of the finest talents I have worked with in my career is within Pacific Union.”