As of April 21, 2020 the San Francisco Association of Realtors (SFAR) has updated their guidelines for realtors transacting in San Francisco based up on the Mayor’s shelter-in-place order. Current in force mandates include:
  • No traditional, in-person open houses or tours or showings of occupied properties are allowed. All showings should be conducted virtually if feasible
  • Vacant properties may be shown to prospective buyers only if NOT feasible (possible) to show virtually, and then only with significant procedural and safety measures

SFAR has also posted the following Q&A guidance provided by the San Francisco City Attorney:
Are real estate photographers permitted in homes?

Yes, real estate photographers are necessary to enable virtual viewings and marketing to occur.

Are real estate stagers permitted in homes?
No, stagers are not necessary to enable residential real estate transactions.

Are inspectors/appraisers permitted in homes?
Yes, inspectors and appraisers are necessary to enable residential real estate transactions to occur.

The shelter-in-place order indicates that if an inspector is visiting an uninhabited unit, he/she must follow social distancing/sanitary guidelines, and is limited to two visitors at a time in a single unit - with one individual showing the unit. Only if this strict protocol is followed will inspections be allowed.

The California Association of REALTOR® (CAR) has posted new Best Practices at, stating that:

“The written approval of the seller for all pre-marketing activities must be obtained by the listing agent. No third party can enter the property if they have not agreed to follow CDC guidelines. Even for contractors and workers, gloves and other protective gear are mandated, as is the declaration that they are asymptomatic and agree to follow CDC guidelines”.

The declaration referenced above is further discussed in CAR’s guidelines as follows:

“Any person entering a property shall provide by declaration that to the best of their knowledge, they are not currently ill with a cold or flu; do not have a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, or exhibit other COVID-19 symptoms; have not been in contact with a person with COVID-19; and will adhere to and follow all precautions required for viewing the property at all times. All persons visiting a property will agree to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer prior to entry, and to wear disposable rubber gloves and a protective face mask, if one is made available. In addition, sellers must disclose to all persons who enter the property if the seller is currently ill with a cold, flu or COVID-19 itself, or has a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms, or has been in contact with a person with COVID-19. Further, if anyone who enters the property is later diagnosed with COVID-19, the person who is diagnosed must immediately inform the listing agent, who will then make best efforts to inform everyone who entered the property after the person diagnosed, of that fact.”

SFAR has emphasized that these orders only provide for a mere ‘minimum standard’ which could be changed and made more restrictive by Mayor Breed (or Governor Newsom) with little or no notice.