Editor’s note: Inman News reached out to our readers and columnists and asked them to reflect on the impacts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 10 years later. This report also includes real estate professionals’ online commentary from the September 2001 Inman News archives, and links to real estate-related articles about the anniversary. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
"Because of the magnitude of the tragedy, 9/11 is one of those unforgettable moments that I will remember the rest of my life. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing. It became a day that I was glued to the TV trying to understand exactly what had happened, and what it might mean for our future. But I also remember how good it felt to see our country come together.
"Even today, when I read accounts of what happened in New York, it becomes a very emotional moment, reliving the accounts of heroism and the suffering. I pray for the victims and their families, and hope we never experience an event like that again."
President and CEO
ERA Real Estate
"I was in a meeting in Ohio when I heard the news. Time seemed to stand still, but my mind started racing with worry: for my friends and neighbors who worked in the city, for my family in N.J. I drove home in a rental car — because the airports were closed — and was struck by the absolute absence of planes in the sky, and a pervasive stillness that hung everywhere.
"When I got home, I witnessed the American spirit in action, watched how we all banded together and worked to support our friends, families and neighbors through such a difficult time. Our separatism disappeared: Differences were erased as we focused on the grief we shared and learned that we were more similar than we thought. At the time, we seemed more united than ever before, but 10 years later, we seem to have lost the strength we found in each other."
Cherry Creek Properties
"I lived in Washington, D.C., on 9/11 where I watched my friends and neighbors wait for news about loved ones in the Pentagon and on airplanes. We huddled together and watched the Pentagon burn, wondering if it was the beginning of the end. Business didn’t seem very important."
Ace Realty Inc.
"My wife and I sat in front of the TV in disbelief as we watched the brutal attack in our coma-like state. The first tower was on fire and no one knew why. After many minutes went by we watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the adjoining tower. We continued to watch all day as the towers collapsed and listening to the news about the other airplanes crashing in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.
"We were the owners of Ace Realty Inc. in Dallas, Texas, a small but successful real estate company that specialized in selling condominiums. I had just received a shipment from China of Sign Boots, an invention I had created that cleans dirt off the sharp tips of metal real estate signs.
"The National Association of Realtors’ convention was taking place the following week in Dallas and I had a booth set up and ready for the thousands of Realtors that would be flying in to attend the convention. The convention opened their doors as planned only without the thousands of Realtors.
"Many committed nearby Realtors drove to the convention, but Realtors that lived outside of the area were unable to jump on a plane because flights were canceled. Besides, no one wanted to leave their families and homes to travel during this troubling time.
"Real estate sales slowed. September, October and November were the worst sales months for the year, and in December business started back up again."
Joseph Chris partners
"All of the 9/11 stories and pictures make me feel like it was just yesterday. My stomach has that wrenching feeling and tears start to swell up as the memories come flooding back.
"Ten years ago (on Sept. 11) I was on a business trip in Philadelphia. Our flight was to leave on 9/11 after our last appointment. Standing in the middle of a Starbucks I heard the unbelievable news. Someone rushed to get a tiny TV so that we could watch what was happening.
"The bridges and highways were shutting down — threats of bombs were everywhere. We saw the first tower had been hit, assuming like most that it was an accident, and then saw the second plane fly directly into the second tower and then couldn’t take our eyes off of the TV — even as the towers fell and the news reports (announced) that we had been attacked by terrorists.
"I recall a woman running out of the Starbucks hysterical because her son worked in one of the towers, and countless others having relatives or friends who would most certainly be somewhere in or near Ground Zero.
"Thankful that the rental car was still in our possession, we made the quiet trip across Pennsylvania, Ohio and back home to Indiana. Every time I see that bright blue fall sky I can’t help but remember that day and how it forever changed our lives."
San Diego Castles Realty
"Sept. 11 was a dichotomy for our family. My husband was three days into a six-day backpacking trip in the Sierras. While he was enjoying the freedoms we have so long celebrated, unaware of the events unfolding, those of us who remained connected feared for those same freedoms.
"As I readied my then-middle school children for what should have been another routine day, my oldest daughter said, "Look, Mom. New York is on fire." No time for television, I told her. We would be late. Perhaps foolishly, I deposited them in front of the school as the second tower came down.
"For me, Sept. 11 marks a day of remembrance — remembrance of both heroes and ordinary people who would be driven to do extraordinary things in the face of adversity. It is a day when I pause to reflect on how precious are the freedoms that we take for granted and that from acts of hate can be born true united communities of tolerance and compassion.
"As for my husband, he emerged from the wilderness two days later to have another backpacker on his way into the park recount the story, a story my husband initially discounted as some lunatic’s rantings.
"And when he finally confirmed the events, my husband too was left with a renewed sense of the importance of family and community — and renewed sense of national honor and pride.
Lisa Ludlow Archer
"I can remember exactly where I was. In a high-rise working at a big bank in uptown Charlotte. My dad was flying from Boston to (Los Angeles). I didn’t hear from him till late that afternoon. (It was the) scariest, and a life-changing, day. He quit his 30-year career in computer consulting and got his real estate license."
"Where was I on 9/11? Well, this was before my days as a real estate agent. I was working in the tech industry for Microsoft. I was flying from Japan to Seoul, South Korea, for a new product launch when it happened.
"The vice president of my division and myself arrived at the hotel in Seoul at about 11 p.m., and turned on the TV to witness the Trade Centers collapsing. Obviously it was a night of watching CNN and checking on things at home.
"Our product launch the next day went on as planned, with some heartfelt comments by the Microsoft vice president. We ended up being trapped in Seoul for about five days, waiting for the international flights to start back up and eventually getting our spot on a flight.
"Strangely, I think we got back home sooner than a lot of domestic travelers, but it was a surreal trip, with not much to do other than hang in our hotel room and watch the newscasts from back home.
Entrust IRA Administration Inc.
"On 9/11, I was in my senior year of high school. My older brother lived in New York, and when the second tower was hit, a teacher pulled me out of class to his office so we could call him.
"It turned out he was OK and had somehow slept through the whole thing. Eventually, school was let out and I sat with my parents glued to the TV. The next day was my 18th birthday, which I spent eating pizza and cake while contemplating joining the military with a few gung-ho friends."
Market manager and broker
"It changed the face of New York and surrounding communities so much. I was ( and still am) an agent in the Hamptons, on Long Island’s East End, at the time. We are only two hours by bus or car to Manhattan, depending on traffic. After the attack, many part-time or summer residents that lived in Manhattan used their homes here as refuge from the chaos.
"Several never went back to the city full time because they were so traumatized. Many who had large Manhattan apartments and small beach cottages swapped their apartments for pied-a-tiers and either winterized, renovated or expanded their beach cottages or sold them to buy larger homes here. This East End market was part of the ripple effect of the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. Things will never be the same.
Savvy + company Real Estate
"With regards to 9/11, those things that we took for granted all of those years prior to (that day) were suddenly brought to light in all of our lives. I believe that we now appreciate our freedoms more, and I also believe that most Americans feel a larger sense of patriotism than before. Security is also a priority in our thoughts, which was not even a consideration to most of the Gen Xers and Yers prior to 9/11.
"Prior to 9/11, air travel was also easier and less stressful for all Americans; I have several friends who are still fearful of flying.
"We also have a lot of New Yorkers who have transferred to our area since 2000 and hearing their stories of the loss of friends, family and businesses is truly heartbreaking. The sadness is sometimes overwhelming for those who suffered personal losses, but the truth remains that all Americans experienced "losses" that day — our freedoms and trust are issues that are still endured on a daily basis, even now, 10 years later."
Re/Max 200 Realty
"I have a customer that just started to look for lakefront homes here in Orlando the week before 9/11. He owns a travel agency that specializes in arranging trips for schools. After the attack, every trip he had on the books canceled, 100 percent. By December, he was actually concerned that he would have to furlough or lay off his entire staff because no new business had come in. President Bush at one point went on television and told people to get back to their lives, and take a vacation to Florida — his brother Jeb, then governor of the Sunshine State, would appreciate it.
"January of 2002, all his bookings returned, and in February he signed a contract for a very nice custom home. 9/11 changed a lot of things, but it did not keep us from moving forward."
Re/Max Premier Realty
"The 9/11 attacks are the first time in the modern era that war has been brought onto U.S. soil. It also brought terrorism onto U.S. soil.
"The attacks have changed many people’s thinking in Kansas City. The first reaction was being scared — where is this going to lead? You saw people moving from urban areas for the fear of more attacks. People also questioned whether to live in a high-rise. Could an attack or a fire bring their building down?
"There are many people in Kansas City who will not live or work in high-rise buildings. In addition, there are a few large corporations that have moved their offices to the suburbs from high-rises.
"I think the attacks brought people more together. People’s lives were getting splintered with the many activities in their lives. The attacks slowed people down.
"Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has gone to war twice. Many people in Kansas City wonder ‘where will we be in a war next?’ "
Keller Williams, Legacy
"I don’t think that any of us will forget where we were when we received the news about the planes hitting the towers. (My husband) Randy and I were attending the Realtor Rally in downtown San Antonio. At first, many people were unsure of what had really happened, but with Randy’s military experience and just common sense, we wanted to go home.
"As we wound down the levels of the parking garage, the church bells were peeling. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was eerily surreal. All I wanted to do was get my daughter from school, check on the older children, and we were particularly worried about a son-in-law who is a pilot. I wanted cash in my pocket, gas in the tank, and yet I didn’t want to go anywhere but home.
"I think many people felt the same way. We wanted to pull our loved ones close. We stayed home and watched TV for two weeks. I think it has affected our business in the way people ‘cocoon’ more now than before 9/11. Where we live is more important than ever. We are more likely to watch a movie in our homes than go to the movies.
"HGTV has become a big source of entertainment and most of us can whip up a meal in our ‘gourmet kitchen’ like Paula Deen or even Anthony Bourdain. No matter the budget, our clients look for those things in their homes — a higher comfort level, but simpler living than before.
EOP Real Estate LLC
"This is my least favorite time of the year as the anniversary of 9/11 and death of my best friend Angie approaches.
"This year seems so much worse than some of the past anniversaries. I think it’s because 10 years feels like a lifetime. Also, for the first time she’s been dead (10 years) longer than we were best friends (nine years) and I feel so cheated!
"Cheated out of the opportunity to see her as a mother.
"Cheated out of the opportunity to have her know my children and have them know her personally.
"Cheated out of having that ‘go-to girlfriend’ who would drop everything to be there for me if I needed her.
"Cheated out of a lifetime of having her with me.
"So much has happened in these 10 years and it still makes me angry that she is not here with us to enjoy it.
"Not a day goes by where I don’t miss her. I miss the shared history, those little stories that only she would understand, those memories that only she and I shared. I miss hearing her voice and her laugh.
"I lost my innocence that beautiful September morning. It was the first time I truly understood how cruel life can be and that I realized that bad things do happen to wonderful people.
"Angie had a beautiful spirit unlike anyone else I have ever met. The impact she left in 27 short years is a testament to what a special person she was. My life is so much better because she was a part of it and that she taught me so much about love, friendship and acceptance.
"I have never had a sister, but that is what she was to me. Without a doubt she was a part of my family.
"I am forever honored to have had the opportunity to call her my best friend!"
"My son worked in a shoreline Jersey City office building directly across the Hudson River from the World Trade towers. It was early morning on Sept. 11 and he was looking out the window when suddenly a plane crashed into one of the towers.
"He called me immediately and I turned on the television. My son’s building had the clearest view of the World Trade Towers of any location in the metro area, and as the events unfolded he watched as people jumped out of windows to escape the conflagration.
"Finally, he bore witness to both towers collapsing. He called me at every dramatic moment in the crisis. I lived through it as he saw it. Later in the day, the lobby of his building was set up as a triage station. It was years before he could bring himself to visit Ground Zero."
" ‘The Day’ … I live in Colorado, so in the early morning I was getting children ready for school while watching CNBC. We saw the first impact together, in the initial confusion assuming a terrible accident, then the second …
"While driving the kids to school, I tried to explain the anger and hate that would follow, perhaps against some of their classmates. Then I went to work out, and on an exercise bike watched the towers come down. I had been in the bond business in the 1980s, and thought of friends who I knew worked in and near the towers — especially Cantor Fitzgerald, with whom we all traded. My brother was a high-rise construction manager in New York City, later responsible for a quarter of the site cleanup.
"I learned late on The Day that on top of his then-current project up by Columbia University, he and colleagues all over the city had tried to reach authorities to warn them that the towers would come down, and to get away. In hopeless frustration, they began to wager on the hour.
"By sundown in Boulder — ‘lefty’ Boulder in which display of an American flag had been gauche ever since Vietnam — Stars-and-Stripes of every size began to appear on porches, rooftops, windows, cars, trees and clothes.
"Ten days later, at a University of Colorado football game (the first weekend, all were canceled, remember?), F-16s flew over and 55,000 people sang the anthem, choking through tears."
"Like most people, I remember 9/11 all too vividly, not simply for the unspeakable horrors of that day and the loss of so many innocent lives, but for very personal reasons as well. My two sons were in the vicinity of the World Trade Center as the planes hit — one was working on an upper floor in an adjacent building on a bond trading desk. Happily he got out.
"We ache for the families whose sons and daughters and fathers and mothers did not get out. And unfortunately for everyone involved — those injured families and the country at large — there is no going back to pre-9/11. We all feel a lurking vulnerability that we could never have imagined before.
"Even as this anniversary approaches, we still are being told in Washington, D.C. and New York: There are crazy murderers heading your way. Again."
"I came of age during the Vietnam era, watching a country that was painfully fractured. Following 9/11, I watched in awe at the heroism of the first responders, and the troops sent off to battle. I felt a pride and a patriotism that I’d only heard stories of from my World War II-generation parents.
"Now we’re fractured again, deeply divided due to poor leadership by both parties. I hope our leaders will look back on that horrible day, remember the sacrifices made by so many in the last decade, and set their partisanship aside so we can rediscover our unity, our pride, and our strength as a nation."
Glenn Roberts Jr.
"The first time we visited the World Wide Web. The call to bring down the Berlin Wall. The elation of the first moon landing.
"The assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Pearl Harbor.
"These are events that shape generations. In our thinking, our actions, our culture. Our government. Our future.
"I awoke on Sept. 11, 2001, to a distressed phone call from my Mom. "It’s horrible." I was still spiraling out of sleep, and this just wasn’t making sense.
" ‘What’s going on?’ I asked. Something big.
"Nothing felt safe in that instant. I recalled how years earlier, during a cross-country adventure with a few friends, we toured the public observation deck in one of the Trade Center towers and marveled at the epic and breathtaking view. Gone.
"All of us, even those not directly touched by the loss of friends and loved ones were impacted, too.
"Sept. 11, 2001, was the most significant globally historic event in my lifetime since the symbolic crumbling of the Cold War, when people chipped away chunks and pushed down whole sections of the Berlin Wall. And how different those events were.
"Earlier this week I was talking with my best friend, a schoolteacher, about how 9/11 changed the U.S. How it changed us. We pondered whether the youngest generation is somehow different, in mindset and even behaviorally, having grown up in a post-9/11 environment. And whether the changed security environment has significantly impacted our daily lives and outlook.
"I’ve still got a tourist trinket from that New York City visit years ago — it’s a tiny copper-hued metal model of the Trade Center towers that my kids will no doubt ask about. And I’ll have to explain what it is and what it means to me. And what that day means for all of us — even those of us too young to remember."
Christine M. Todd
Northern Virginia Association of Realtors
"I was in Moscow, Russia on Sept. 11. I had just completed a full-day seminar for the Russian Guild of Realtors on the history and evolution of the multiple listing service in the United States.
"There were close to 100 people in the audience and I was answering specific questions when a man came running into the room quite upset and said, ‘The Americans (there were three of us) must be excused from the stage immediately. There are explosions in New York, explosions in Washington, buildings on fire, it is terrible, terrible.’
"He then collapsed and cried. I was stunned. I closed my laptop and quietly left the room with my colleagues.
"We were ushered into a small room with a TV that hung from the ceiling. I do not speak Russian but the photos of the planes crashing into the World Trade towers and Pentagon spoke for themselves.
"I was not able to leave Russia until later the next week because of the airline delays in Europe and the U.S.
"Needless to say, I will never forget that week and the turmoil that followed.
"I live and work in Northern Virginia. The Pentagon is not far from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors headquarters.
"Our members were traumatized. We all knew someone who knew someone who lost a loved one at the Pentagon crash.
"The next month we invited Richard Mendenhall, then-National Association of Realtors president, to speak to our members at our convention.
"We made last-minute changes to the convention and placed the spotlight on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Team and the Arlington County Fire Department and thanked them for their service.
"I knew our world would never be the same after that horrible day.
"Unfortunately I was right."
Coldwell Banker Advantage
"I was up early Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, sitting at my computer in Cary, N.C., eating breakfast and drinking coffee. I was just getting over a cold, which is why I had decided Sunday night not to catch my early Monday morning flight to my office in New York.
"I was working with IBM at the time and had been spending a lot of time in the city with one of my IBM Business Partners on an interactive TV project I was heading up. My office was a couple of blocks from the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan.
"I was just about to get on a conference call with my team when I saw a newsflash on ‘Good Morning America’ that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. Since some of my team had friends or family working there, we decided to reschedule the call. Our prayers were with those friends and family.
"As I drank another cup of coffee, I stepped outside, where the weather was especially beautiful. I now know that while I was standing outside in my yard enjoying the deep blue sky, just a couple of miles away at the American Airlines Reservation Center in Cary a frantic stewardess was talking with the center about her plane being hijacked. All I remember was how blue the sky was.
"I remembered when sometimes I would fly into Newark and head into the city or up the river to one of IBM’s other offices and I would look across to Manhattan. The two towers were definitely a site, dominating that part of the island. And I wondered how in the world a plane could have flown into them.
"About that time, my wife ran out and said that something terrible was happening. Another plane had flown into the other tower. It was at that time we both knew in the pit of our stomach that this was no accident. From that point on, we became fixed to the news channel, like most Americans, wondering what was next and how far this attack would be.
"By the end of the day Tuesday, I knew that had I been in my office in New York, I probably would not have made it home for a few days. Then my wife and I began discussing how often I flew, which was quite often — enough that no matter what airline I flew on, I was always upgraded to first class for free because I had so many frequent-flier miles. Even though every year we would donate the balance to charity, by the first month I was already in the tens of thousands of miles.
"We also talked about the fact that my travels kept me away from our four young kids. I had already missed two Christmases — one (becaue I was) in London … and one (because I was) in Paris.
"And this — what had happened earlier that Tuesday — had brought the realization that things were going to be different. So at that point in time, my wife and I made the decision I would leave IBM and get off the road.
"Two weeks later, I had turned in my resignation and enrolled in real estate school. I thought, ‘What better way to earn a living than one where I could be home every night. No more traveling. Two months later, I had my North Carolina broker’s license and was selling real estate for Re/Max. I ended up buying my firm and then another a few years later.
"So 9/11 is in many ways why I am in real estate today."
"I remember the few months of national solidarity that followed that terrible, unsettling day on 9/11; the momentary respite from the political chasm that had ripped and divided the country just nine months earlier, after the 2000 election.
"I remember a reawakened celebration of national identity and a shared sense of American purpose, before the fog of political partisanship clouded our vision as before."
Social media commentary about the 10-year anniversary:
Joyce Lin: "9/11 was the day Americans lost their innocence. I no longer go blithely to NYC."
Naomi Trower "I just entered the hospital about to have my first child! My first thought was, ‘My child is about to be born into a new war. I will do everything I can to help him value life and always make a positive contribution.’ He decided to stay in my belly longer and was actually born the next day."
Daniel J. Hunter: "10 years later and still mourning."
Ryan Schattner: "Listened to it on the radio while going to school as a kid. Would have never imagined that a few years later I would find myself sitting in a bunker in Iraq because of it."
From Inman News archives: September 2001 Comments from Real Estate Professionals
How on earth did this happen?
Realtors share thoughts, feelings in online ‘talk’ community
Wednesday, September 12, 2001 Inman News
As tragic events were unfolding in the free world yesterday morning and today, Realtors around the country began sharing their experiences, thoughts, concerns and feelings on a popular real estate messaging service. Inman News Features requested and received today permission from a number of individuals to republish their messages, as follows:
Tuesday, Sept. 11 Subject: How on Earth Did This Morning Actually Happen????
The world has gone crazy with these terrible events of this morning! Good luck to all our Realtors in the New York City and D.C. areas. All of our thoughts are with everyone there. I truly hope we don’t have to add any more cities to these two.
RE/MAX Coast to Coast
Tuesday, Sept. 11 Subject: A day we’ll never forget
For those that used this (attack) as a way to get attention for their cause, be it political, religious, or just plain insanity, I don’t think they’re going to convert anyone to their way of thinking now. Pearl Harbor was a military target. This was the murder of innocent bystanders. We’ve all been affected.
We’ll never be able to look at a plane or skyscraper again, without a tear in our eye.
Just a sickening reminder to stop, hug and express your love for those you care for. In the blink of an eye, you may lose that opportunity forever.
Prudential First Properties
Central New York State
Tuesday, Sept. 11 Subject: God Bless America
To my fellow Realtors across the border. I can’t speak for all Canadians, but I am sure, most feel the same way. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
The world is huge, but at times like this we realize how very small and vulnerable we all are. There, but for you, go us. The United States is like a big brother to Canada and many other free countries in the world. America stands up for the weak and oppressed because they have the power to do so.
They also are the target for terrorists who really have no idea what they are doing nor do they understand God will not reward them for these cowardly acts. There is a place reserved for these people and they will not like it.
How poor and deranged are those who resort to these acts. The rest of the world suffers in anguish because of the cowardly acts of a few.
Good luck, America. You will make it through this. In the meantime, thank you for bearing this heavy cross for the rest of us. We are grateful every day that you are our neighbor and friend. God bless you and all that are feeling this pain today. It is a sad, sad day.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Wednesday, Sept. 12 Subject: Los Angeles Shut Down
I am one who can remember as a young child running through the streets and shouting at the radio, as if the world could hear us, "The war is over." My father, as an air raid warden, would run off in the evening as we were hurried out of our homes as the sirens went off and search lights went on.
The war never hit us directly in our homeland as it sadly did yesterday, again today and (as it will in the) weeks to come. Yesterday, war was declared upon us in the worse possible way, with our own weapons and people. New York and DC will build up and clean up, but life will never be the same for them. I deeply grieve, as we all do, for the lives taken and their families.
My heart goes out, my flag is flying and we are donating blood today. Seems (there is) so little one can do in the whole realm of things, but it is encouraging to see our government come together as one.
Los Angeles was almost shut down and is still on high tactical alert. Downtown Los Angeles was like a ghost town. The Federal Building on Wilshire Blvd. was surrounded with FBI and it goes on and on. Streets and off ramps leading to LA International Airport were closed to all traffic.
I just moved from the Los Angeles area this year. My children (in Los Angeles) called me (because they were) afraid of what might happen in Los Angeles. They wanted me to take their children and keep them with me for the week. I encouraged them to keep them at home with them unless further developments took place.
This has effected everyone in this nation!
Wednesday, Sept. 12 Subject: War time
Yesterday, the schools closed early and when I went to pick up my children, there was an F-16 flying overhead. A stunning sign that things were not normal. My 10-year-old was scared and my 13-year-old kept asking me to explain why someone would do this. I tried my best to offer reassurance in the face of the increasingly more tragic news and to offer explanations for the unexplainable.
Today the mood in Washington is somber and quiet; I believe we are all in mourning.
Lynda K. Bloom
Montgomery County, Md.
Wednesday, Sept. 12 Subject: Tragedy
Has anyone heard from our virtual friends in the (New York City) area?
This event has widespread ripples that everyone in our country and beyond will feel. My youngest has a high school friend who lives and works in Manhattan. We just got a call from her mother that she is okay and headed out of the city.
My eldest daughter has been commenting on how even the smallest decisions we make have such widespread consequences that influence the lives of people in ways we cannot imagine. This cowardly act will effect all of us in some way.
My flight today to Seattle for the Cyberstar session has been canceled.
I am sincerely thankful that I have another day to live, breathe and pray for those who were hurt or lost their lives today and their families. We are all family in some way and certainly connected in our humanness. I wish I could think of the words to truly express the connectedness I feel to all of you at this moment. I hope and pray that some part of this feeling will stay with me for the rest of my life. If I can just hang on to a small part of it, I feel it will help me to be a better person.
Century 21 Totem Properties Inc.
Wednesday, Sept. 12
I was driving to a listing appointment this morning and heard on the radio that there was smoke coming from the World Trade Center, but having been born in New York and lived there most of my life, I didn’t think anything of it. I went to the listing and we were just finishing up when the (sellers’) son came running down and telling us that one of the towers collapsed. The TV was turned on in time to watch the second tower crumble. We just sat there stunned. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and I asked the owner if the towers really just collapsed. He just looked at me and (nodded) his head. When I was able to talk again, I said the listing seem so unimportant and they agreed. I finally left, but one thing we agreed on is that we would never forget that moment, strangers brought together during one of the worst moments in our memories.
In my market, a lot of my clients work in NYC, as I did a few years ago, taking the train to the World Trade Center to go back and forth to work. I only hope they are all okay and made it through this terrible tragedy.
I did receive a call at home in the afternoon from one of my customers, who is in the middle of a deal. I was so glad to hear from him that I still don’t know why he called, but he told me his office building had collapsed. He worked in tower 1, but on this day New Jersey Transit was late and by the time he was near the Trade Center, the train was stopped and he had to turn around and go home. At this point, he isn’t sure if he even has a job, but he is very thankful that New Jersey Transit, true to form, was late.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people and families who work in downtown (Manhattan).
Century 21 Main Street Realty Inc.
September 2001 Comments from Real Estate Professionals
‘How can I help?’
Realtor proud to wave American flag ‘in honor of innocent victims’
Thursday, September 13, 2001 Inman News
As the nation went into shock Tuesday morning, Realtors around the country began posting messages online asking others to stand by America, donate blood and fly the U.S. flag in front of their homes. Inman News Features has obtained permission today to reprint several of the earliest messages, as follows:
Tuesday, Sept. 11
Subject: We have ALL been attacked
Thanks to all of our Canadian friends for your thoughts. While the United States was the geographical target of this unforgivable travesty, the entire free world has been attacked. Civilization has been dealt a horrible blow today. I hate the thought, but I believe that retribution must be swift and very severe. Not for revenge, but to send the message that this kind of activity not only won’t be tolerated, but also is not worth the cost….
Retaliation needs to be swift and harsh. Anything less is telling the perpetrators that they can do it again. And again. And again.
Westdale Better Homes & Gardens
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Tuesday, Sept. 11
Subject: Volunteer State steps up
My youngest daughter and I went to Medic today to donate blood. As we pulled into the packed parking lot and were told there was a three-hour wait to donate, I was very proudly reminded why Tennessee is nicknamed the Volunteer State.
Giving blood is something that’s needed and most everyone can do. Visit your local Red Cross or Medic office soon, but be prepared to wait awhile.
Realty Executives Associates
Tuesday, Sept. 11
My dear friends,
Today my world and your world has seen the ugliness of destruction of what people call terrorism. I was home with the television on when events began to unfold. I stood. I sat. I knelt as the days events began to unfold and unfortunately worsen. I felt it was a movie, but soon came to realize it was really happening.
For many moments today, I caught myself (feeling something) I have never experienced before in my life. Helplessness. How can I help? Outside of saying prayers, which I have done, and will continue to do for the innocent victims of today’s senseless acts, what can I do?
As a 43-year-old man, I have fortunately never experienced war. How lucky and fortunate I have been! As a child, I heard my late father, uncles, aunts, and grandparents speak of World War I and World War II, (of how) Americans from town to town and city to city rallied together in support of America during its darkest days, (of how when) American was attacked everyone united to stand behind our country and (of how) everyone pitched in.
What started out as a brilliant sun-filled day, soon became a very dark one for America. I will remember today as my parents remember Pearl Harbor. It is the darkest day I have ever seen. I have cried for people I do not know. I have asked why (this happened). I have prayed. I have watched in horror and disbelief.
I walked outside and sat on my front porch. I cried and looked up to the heavens and I wondered what happened. I again asked myself: What can I do?
I then found my United States of America flag and hung it outside the front door. I raised the flag of freedom, the one my uncle died for, the one my father fought for. The flag so many men and women who have come before me and have gone fought so diligently for so I wouldn’t have to. They fought for my freedom. Today, someone has taken a little of that freedom away from us. I intend to fight to get it back. I am flying my flag, high and proud, because I am an American. I invite my fellow Americans today to do the same.
I encourage all my neighbors, friends and family across this great country of ours to stand up and be proud to be an American and wave the flag in honor of freedom and what America stands for. I am also flying my flag in honor of all those innocent victims all over the country who went to work this morning fulfilling the American Dream and won’t be returning home to their loved ones. To their families, I will pray for you and you will remain in my mind and heart for a very long time. To all of all the emergency personnel who have sacrificed their lives, I say thank you. And to all our government leaders, I pray for you during these times. I am behind you, America.
God bless America.
From the September 2001 Inman News Archives
NYC Realtors assist displaced tenants, assess damage, share grief
Thursday, September 13, 2001 Inman News
The terrorist attacks that demolished New York’s World Trade Center towers two days ago have left the city’s real estate practitioners stunned and silent. Yet amid the destruction, some people were able to take a brief moment to speculate about the future of the city’s commercial and residential real estate markets.
Most of the deaths and destruction took place smack in the middle of a real estate market that previously was pumping with sales of highly-coveted luxury residential real estate.
The future of that once-thriving market is now uncertain, said Charles Edelman of the New York Real Institute, which has trained many of the city’s real estate licensees.
Edelman’s office is located across the street from the Empire State Building. He said he couldn’t get to work on Tuesday or Wednesday, but did make it to the office on Thursday, under tight security.
"We had to sign in," he said, referring to the tightened security measures in place throughout the city. "Hopefully, that heightened security will last."
Edelman isn’t as hopeful about the city’s residential real estate market, which he feels will be hurt by the acts of terrorism.
He’s already talked with several real estate companies–most of which now are open and operating–and he said he senses trepidation about whether residents and companies will pack up and move out of the city.
"Prior to this, real estate was holding up," said Edelman. "But now we’ll have to wait and see what effect it has on the real estate markets."
Peter McCuen, president of Peter McCuen & Associates in New York, which handles residential and commercial real estate brokerage, said he already sees significant changes occurring on the commercial side of the business.
During an interview for this story, McCuen needed to hang up the telephone in a hurry to speak with a caller on the other line.
The caller, McCuen said, was a tenant in the World Trade Center.
Before hanging up, McCuen said his office is very busy right now, primarily because roughly 12 million square feet of commercial space was destroyed in the terrorist attacks.
"Pricing has already gone up," he said. "It’s a supply and demand issue. There’s now less space on the market and that’s keeping us very busy."
At Fox Residential Group on 79th and Madison in Manhattan, employees have come together to cope as a group. "Our offices have been open all week," said President Barbara Fox. "I think people were (coping) better in groups than they would have been staying at home. We had a sizable turnout of brokerage staff on Wednesday, and nearly everyone is in today."
Fox, like several other Realtors contacted for this story, wasn’t ready to comment on the future of New York’s real estate market or her company’s future prospects in the aftermath of the attack.
But she did mention that a few transactions pending at the time of attacked involved individuals who have been affected directly by the disaster.
According to Fox, telephone and Internet access services havn’t been completely restored yet in the city. Early on Thursday, she contacted someone from another large residential brokerage company who said that entire company was without telephone service.
"We have no Internet service ourselves," said Fox. "So just functioning has become our primary concern right now."
Agents at Fox Residential are concentrating on scheduling appointments to show property next week while overcoming the grief associated with the disaster and taking time to donate blood.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fox said one company broker broadcasted a voicemail message to all employees, telling them the location of the nearest blood bank. Many employees took the initiative and gave blood.
Another Realtor said her office has been "semi-closed" for the past two days. Until the dust clears, she said, employees will be in too much shock to think about the impact on the company’s business, mainly because "everyone knows someone who works downtown."
More real estate-related news and views on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks:
- PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com: As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches, there are planned memorials and tributes happening all over the country …
- USAToday.com: A city is said to be defined by its highest building, and before Sept. 11, 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center marked New York‘s Lower Manhattan as a financial capital, a place to earn a living, the center of commerce …
- MarketWatch.com: CoreNet Global, the world’s leading association of corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace professionals, today released the results of a survey which found that the tragic events of 9/11 had a permanent effect on the workplace …
- GoodNewsNetwork.org: After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Ruth Johnson found a way to use her extensive real estate experience to "give back" to those who serve unselfishly in our communities — not only veterans, but firefighters, police officers, teachers and health-care workers …
- Blogs.WSJ.com: The Wall Street Journal asked me to look at the period following 9/11 and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September 2008 (and the related credit crunch) to see what, if any, housing market comparisons could be made …
- Matrix blog: I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Sept. 11 anniversary quite a bit over the past year with a lot of trepidation. I can’t imagine how it feels to be one of those people who lost a close friend, colleague or loved one, but I know people who lost close friends, colleagues or loved ones that day and it’s hard to wrap my mind around what that truly feels like — no, it’s impossible — and it’s painful to think about …
- Matrix blog: I took the "before" photo from outside the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. I looked up and was blown away with the scale of the towers and the light. I made it a page on my fledgling website and embedded the graphic in it …
- ArabianBusiness.com: President Barack Obama has ordered a redoubling of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the face of a "credible but unconfirmed" threat ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks …
- PalmBeachPost.com: Gloria Irish spent three weeks of her life that summer driving Marwan al-Shehhi in her car. Irish, a real estate agent, was helping al-Shehhi find a place to live in Delray Beach …
- Inman.com: "On Sept. 11, 2001, our country experienced the unthinkable: terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000. We continue to heal, but the scars are still with us. This column first ran in my newsletter 10 years ago, and captures both the spirit and the tragedy of those times …"
- ChicagolandRealEstateForum.com: "Before Sept. 11, 2001, Chicago’s Sears Tower was a highly prestigious place to work. After that day, the building became a scary place in which to be …"
- BizBash.com: "Although real estate growth in downtown Manhattan suffered a setback during the recent financial crisis, development of the area south of City Hall has seen a significant rebound in the 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, and as a result, the number of hotels, restaurants, and cultural sites for events and corporate entertaining continues to expand …"
- WorldPropertyChannel.com: "Based on a new report by global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, the groundwork has been laid for Lower Manhattan’s next great transformation 10 years past the Sept. 11 tragedy …"
- Marketplace.PublicRadio.org: "This Sunday, as you know, is Sept. 11. It’s the 10th (year) since people started paying attention to that particular date …"
- Marketplace.PublicRadio.org: "The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, brought substantial change to the U.S. economy, our society, and the lives of every American. In this Marketplace special we examine 9/11’s role in our decade’s turbulent economy, and how it has affected our privacy, security, career choices, and personal spending …"
Inman News reporter Andrea V. Brambila assisted in compiling this report.