West Virginia is a unique state with a variety of unique real estate markets. Covered with mountains, valleys, and rivers, the time to buy in West Virginia depends on a number of things, including your goals, your budget, and your location.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In West Virginia, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in West Virginia were lowest in January. On average, homes were $15,160 less expensive. While in September — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $12,122 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in West Virginia.
Best Month For
6.3% lower than average
23.0% more homes to choose from
3.07% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)
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Best Time of Year to Buy in West Virginia
West Virginia has everything from ski lodges to mountain cabins to suburbs of Washington, DC. Where to buy in one part of the state isn’t necessarily the best time to buy in another — the hot season in Snowshoe isn’t going to be the same as the hot season of the New River Gorge.
Before you think about timing, you need to think about your priorities: What’s most important to you and your family? Do you want the lowest prices? The largest selection of houses? Or something in between?
For the lowest prices, you’ll probably want to start looking in the fall and aim to buy in the late fall to early winter. In fall and winter, there are fewer homes on the market but also fewer people looking to buy.
Homeowners selling from November through February are often selling because they have to, not because they want to — and that can lead to large discounts.
Biggest Selection of Homes
If selection is more important than price, spring is for you. April has the most listings of any month, and April, May, and June are by far the three most popular months for new listings.
Unfortunately for buyers, spring is also the most expensive time to buy. In spring selling season, with the most availability comes the most competition. From March to May, one in every four houses sells above its list price.
Good Selection & Good Prices
If you want a middle ground between the craziness of spring and the lull of winter, home shopping towards the end of summer might be for you. There’s a larger selection of homes available than in the fall and winter, and unlike in spring, houses will be priced to move.
Homeowners who hoped to sell in spring or summer, but didn’t, will start to offer discounts towards the end of summer. Sellers who are still in their homes want to move before the weather gets cold. Parents want to move before the school year starts. And because the end of the season attracts fewer buyers, there are good deals available.
Special Considerations in West Virginia
Always keep in mind the specifics of the area where you’re buying. Is it a winter skiing area? Summer rafting? Difficult to get to in the winter?
Like many other things in West Virginia, real estate doesn’t follow one set of rules all across the state. It’s important to study local trends and talk to your realtor about the timing of your market.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in West Virginia
The Eastern Panhandle
The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is known for its history, charm, and proximity to Washington, DC. It includes historic small towns like Charles Town, Shepherdstown, and Harpers Ferry, as well as larger Martinsburg. Just 70 miles from Washington, it’s an appealing area for people who work in DC but want to make their home in a smaller community.
The Eastern Panhandle is the fastest-growing part of West Virginia and expected to remain that way.
Home to the New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area, Fayette County is a forested area in southern West Virginia, known for its views and summer attractions. Small towns like picturesque Fayetteville dominate Fayette County and create a great place for young and old alike — as long as they appreciate the great outdoors.
Cheat Lake, found along the Pennsylvania border, is also home to Coopers Rock State Forest. Known for its outdoor beauty and just 20 minutes to Morgantown, home of WVU, Cheat Lake offers an outdoors experience with a bustling college town just miles away.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal On a Home in West Virginia
1. Find a Great West Virginia Real Estate Agent
It’s important for every buyer to find the right real estate agent. You need an agent who knows the local market inside and out and can advise you on the best time to buy in your area.
A good agent will know the trends and when a buyer like you should look most closely at the market. Realtors are experts and can help advise you on what time of the year to buy to fit your family’s needs.
Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
2. Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
When you’re buying a home, every decision is personal, and how to time your purchase is no different. Some buyers care most about price, while others are more interested in having the best selection to choose from. Some are tied to a specific location, while others don’t have a particular area in mind.
Figure out your needs and priorities before you start looking. From there, you can get a better idea of when the time is right for you to look.
3. Find a Lender and Secure Financing.
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in West Virginia, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in West Virginia a typical house is worth $109,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $389. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $368.
Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.
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4. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
After you’ve found your dream home, your agent will help you prepare and make your offer. When looking for an agent, make sure you find an expert negotiator who will save you money every step of the way.
If you’re shopping for a home in West Virginia, get in touch with a Clever Partner Agent. Clever Partner Agents are all top-rated and can help you through every step of the purchase process.
Fill out our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a Clever Partner Agent in West Virginia for a no-obligation consultation.