Updated on March 18, 2020
Now is a good time to be selling a house in West Virginia! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Mountain State rose 2.98% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 3.60% over the next year.
Of course, even the best West Virginia properties will struggle to sell if you don't price the home properly, do a poor job of marketing it, or don't know how to handle the negotiations.
Read on to learn the eight steps to successfully selling your home in West Virginia!
1. Finding a West Virginia realtor
Selling a home isn't easy. It's a high-stakes, complex transaction and requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to get a good outcome. If you're looking to sell your West Virginia home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.
The best West Virginia listing agents know exactly what local buyers want and how to reach them. They'll offer expert advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, from the initial listing all the way through closing.
In fact, sellers who work with real estate agents net 33% more, on average, than those who list on their own. For a $106,501 home — the median home value in West Virginia, according to Zillow — that's a premium of $35,145. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.
2. Deciding when to sell
In real estate, timing really is everything. From seasonal weather to market fluctuations to economic trends, when you sell your house can have a huge impact on your sale.
Whether your goal is to find a buyer quickly or to sell for as much as possible, the timing of your sale is key.
Best time to sell a house across the U.S.
Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center
Best time to sell a house in West Virginia for speed
|Best Month to Sell for speed in West Virginia||July||34 days on market||22 days faster than average|
In West Virginia, the time of year you list your home greatly affects how long it takes to find a buyer.
West Virginia homes spend an average of 56 days on the market (DOM). But July is the best month in terms of speed, with homes spending just 34 days listed before getting an offer.
The slowest months are January and February, with homes staying on the market for an average of 87 and 85 days, respectively.
Keep in mind, these figures only describe the period from listing to accepting an offer. After that, it typically takes another 30-40 days to close your sale.
Best time to sell a house in West Virginia for price
|Best Month to Sell for Price in West Virginia||August||$201,000 median sale price||5% more than average|
Homes sold in August generally fetch the highest price for West Virginia sellers. In August, sale prices average $201,000, well above the yearly average of $191,083.
If you're wondering when the worst time to sell for profit is, the winter months carry those dubious honors. In January, the average sale price is $180,000 — or about 10% less than August.
3. Pricing your home
It's crucial to price your home accurately, but competitively, for your market. If it's listed too high, you'll have trouble finding qualified buyers — or any buyers at all. Too low, and you could be leaving money on the table.
To determine an optimal price, real estate agents will perform a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA compares your home to similar properties sold in your market, factoring in traits like age, size, condition, and more.
Whether you're looking to sell quickly, for the highest price, or both, your agent will use a CMA to develop a pricing strategy that will give you the best chance to meet your financial goals.
4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home
The next steps are listing your home and making sure it gets noticed! Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Home Staging Works
Home staging has a huge influence when potential buyers walk through your front door; it helps get you a better sale price.
More than just giving your house a cursory cleaning, staging uses professional design principles to breathe new life into your home. It also means highlighting features that speak directly to buyers in your local West Virginia market.
Plus, staging gets results.
A recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that 22% of listing agents reported getting offers 1-5% higher for staged homes. What's more, 17% of agents reported getting prices 6% to 10% higher.
Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House
Craft an Appealing (and Accurate) Listing Description
An appealing, informative, and accurate listing description will entice browsers to schedule a showing. Since more than 90% of home buyers use the internet in their search, it's even more important to catch their attention amid the sea of listings online.
Along with great quality photos, a standout description will help you sell your home faster. Your listing should highlight your home's best characteristics and unique features, while not exaggerating. If you describe your small closets as “enormous,” for instance, it'll just sound desperate and disingenuous.
Market Your Home
Staging, photographing, and writing a great description are the first steps to marketing your home, but you still need to make sure that it gets seen by interested, local buyers.
Your agent will be able to post your home on the multiple listing service (MLS) database and promote it to their professional networks. They'll develop a marketing strategy to target buyers in your part of West Virginia.
You can do your part by reaching out to friends and family, or posting your listing on social media.
Showings and Open Houses
Your home will need to look its absolute best while your agent is hosting prospective buyers. Since you'll need to be ready for showings at nearly a moment's notice, keep things as clean as you can.
Host open houses when most buyers are available. A weekend afternoon is usually the best time to set aside a few hours for an open house.
Once you receive an offer, don't pop the champagne just yet. Your negotiations are just beginning.
First, it's up to you to either accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counteroffer. West Virginia doesn't require that sellers respond within a specific timeframe, but most buyers expect to hear back within 48 to 72 hours.
If you submit a counteroffer, the ball is passed back to the buyer to accept, reject, or counter again. This process can go back and forth as many times as needed until both parties reach an agreement or one decides to leave the bargaining table.
Once you accept an offer, the purchase agreement will be finalized. This contract will state things like the agreed-upon price, financing information, and any disclosures.
At this point, the buyer typically makes a good faith payment of about 1% to 2% of the sale price. This deposit is called earnest money, and can be applied to the down payment later on if the sale is completed.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette
After you've signed a purchase agreement, you'll need to get your home ready for an inspection and appraisal. These may sound similar, but there are key differences.
During a home appraisal, an independent appraiser will visit and assess your home to determine its current value. This is usually done at the request of the buyer's lender to make sure that the value of the home is sufficient collateral for the buyer's mortgage. The appraisal looks at the overall condition of your property and compares it to similar homes nearby.
The home inspection checks for defects with your house's physical condition. More often than not, something will turn up in the inspection. Given the extremes of West Virginia's weather, roof issues are common. These can range from a few missing shingles to more serious problems.
Depending on what turns up, you and the buyer will negotiate how to handle repairs. You can either take care of them yourself before the sale, lower the price as a concession, give the buyer cash to make the repairs themselves, or you can (respectfully) refuse to do anything.
You need to be realistic and tactful while negotiating repairs. Your agent will best advise you on how to proceed without holding up the sale.
West Virginia is a caveat emptor state, which means there's no law that requires a seller to make disclosures to buyers. However, homeowners still need to comply with federal disclosures laws and most sellers still disclose known issues to give buyers peace of mind. These disclosures often regard:
- Structural defects
- HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems
- Zoning violations
- Water/sewer problems
- Illegal/drug-related activity
- Environmental hazards
Your real estate agent can advise you about what is in your best interest to disclose so you can sell quickly and for a fair price.
In your purchase agreement, you and the buyer will agree on a closing date. This is when both parties, your agents, and an escrow or title company representative will meet to sign documents, exchange checks, and put a final stamp on your sale. West Virginia also requires that an attorney conduct the closing.
Though this meeting takes just an hour or two, the closing process leading up to it often takes a few weeks. During this phase, paperwork is prepared, the property title is searched, and the buyer takes steps to satisfy their lender's requirements.
How much are closing costs for West Virginia home sellers?
When calculating how much you'll take home from your sale, make sure to budget for costs associated with closing. In West Virginia, sellers can expect to pay about 1-3% in closing costs.
These cover things like transfer fees, attorney fees, property taxes, and outstanding balances on utilities. You'll also be responsible for paying off your mortgage and settling any prepayment penalties if you have them.
On top of all this, you'll be on the hook for realtor commission fees — which average 6% in West Virginia.
Learn More: How Much Are Closing Costs for the Seller?
Next steps: Sell your West Virginia home and save thousands
Whether you're looking to list your West Virginia home immediately or 6-12 months from now, it's never too early to start looking for an agent, getting advice, and making a plan.
Clever is here to help guide you through the home selling process — and save money along the way! In fact, homeowners who list with us save an average of $9,000 on home selling costs.
Top ways to sell your home in West Virginia
- Discount real estate agents in West Virginia
- We Buy Houses for Cash companies in West Virginia
- Flat-fee MLS companies in West Virginia