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REALTOR® Guidelines to Complying with Essential Services


Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Bridge Association of REALTORS®, AND Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® offer the following guidelines for complying with Orders issued March 31, 2020 by the Public Health Officers of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and the City of Berkeley:


Six Bay Area Counties and the City of Berkeley issued new Shelter in Place Orders on March 31, 2020 that permits limited real estate practices. We have been working with the Public Health Agencies of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to get clarification on how this applies to our members. We continue to ask members to Shelter in Place during the pandemic. If your client have an urgent need to complete a real estate transaction, we offer the following suggestions.

1.         Stay Safe, Work Safe.  When contemplating providing essential services to the public always take the safest course, including working remotely and practicing all of the guidelines from the CDC and County Health Departments.  If personal contact is essential, practice social distancing.

2.         The exception for service providers enabling residential transactions only applies to residential transactions, not commercial or industrial.  Service providers include real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, title companies.  The respective jurisdictions have opined as to other disciplines as follows:

            Alameda County: Service Providers include home inspectors, appraisers and photographers.

            Contra Costa County:  Service Providers include home inspectors, appraisers and photographers.

            Berkeley:  Service Providers include home inspectors, appraisers and photographers.

3.         Whenever possible, all aspects of a transaction should be completed through virtual interaction.  In person contact is discouraged.

4.         If a virtual encounter is not feasible, entrance into a property may be made under the following conditions: by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same unit (except that in person visits are not allowed when the occupant is still residing in the residence).  This has been defined by the Counties as allowing entrance into the property only if it is vacant. 

5.         Persons performing cosmetic services for a property, such as staging and landscape for the sake of beautification, are not considered service providers subject to the exception.

6.         Access to properties is restricted to contractors and service personnel who provide services necessary to maintaining habitability, sanitation, and operation of the residence, or address safety of residents, employees or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition).  Example include plumbers, electricians and exterminators.  Upkeep of landscaping is by way of example not considered essential. 

7.         NEVER arrange an in-person meeting, visit or other contact when any of the participants has any symptoms or knowledge of possessing a communicable disease.

8.         ALWAYS refrain from touching surfaces touched by others except when absolutely necessary and then use CDC approved methods for sanitizing the surface; and ALWAYS wash hands and follow CDC advice for being as safe as possible.

9.         Check for Updates.  Your Associations are working with Health Agencies and other Government Agencies to keep you informed and to provide you with updates on the Orders and their interpretations. 

CAR has created several forms you should use before showing property. You can find a copy of these here *link included*. These can be accessed through your ZipForm! Account.


C.A.R. Forms

Notice of Unforeseen Coronavirus Circumstances: View PDF

Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration: View PDF

Coronavirus Addendum or Amendment: View PDF

Listing Agreement Coronavirus Addendum or Amendment: View PDF


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