Owning Land In West Virginia: Pros & Cons | askBAMLand

Purchasing land is a great way to own property and get an investment return. Owning land in West Virginia has its pros and cons.

But, what are the pros and cons of owning land in West Virginia? Is it easy to find land to buy in the state or not?

West Virginia is an area with amazing views of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The state permits homesteads, and you can also own the mineral rights—however, cons such as lack of government services and lack of job opportunities plague West Virginia.

Still, it’s worth noting that this state prides itself in having close community relationships. There’s a slower pace of life and a chance to enjoy many outdoor activities in West Virginia. So, it’s worth it as where you buy land to build a home.

The information in this article is sourced from reliable sites to give readers the right information about land ownership in West Virginia.

Table of Contents

Pros of Owning Land in West Virginia

Here are the advantages of owning land in West Virginia.

Close Proximity to the Appalachian Mountain Trail

West Virginian is surrounded by the Appalachian Mountain Trail. The area has some of the most beautiful scenic views in the whole region. Owning land in this state is a chance to own a portion of this amazing feature.

The land can be where you build your home and take in the gorgeous views every day. Living in rural areas means you can take in the sites without the many distractions of big cities. In addition, you’re at the doorstep of fantastic hiking trails in the vast forests.

There are plenty of things to do in West Virginia if you’re an adventure seeker. The many outdoor adventures will keep you entertained for most of the year. Since you own land and a home in the area, you no longer have to travel long distances to get to the Appalachian Mountain Range.

Chance to Create a Homestead

West Virginia is a great place to escape from the big city and start a homestead. It’s important to note that the majority of the land is family-owned, but you can still secure several acres to begin homesteading. The good news is exemption laws in West Virginia benefit homesteaders.

You can raise animals and grow crops to sustain yourself and your family on a homestead. The land in West Virginia is excellent for agricultural practices given the sub-tropical climate. Therefore, this is a great place to buy land if you plan to start a homestead.

It’s possible to deliver the products from your homestead to a farmer’s market in the state. There are 32 official markets, and you might not need a vendor’s permit to sell. However, always get to know the land law concerning growing crops and raising animals for sale.

Ownership of Mineral Rights

As a landowner in West Virginia, you can own the minerals beneath the land. You have mineral rights to that area depending on the amount of land you own. West Virginia is rich in mineral wealth, so the land you buy might be worth much more.

Since 2021, many people have been buying land in West Virginia after the rise in the value of mineral rights. It’s all about owning the royalties attached to the minerals found on the land. However, it’s important to get proper advice before leasing or selling land to gas and oil companies.

When purchasing land, get to know if the mineral rights are intact or they’ve been sold. If they’ve been sold, you can only lay claim to the surface land. If not, no one can lay claim or extract the minerals beneath the ground without your permission.

Land is Affordable

Rural land is much more affordable in West Virginia. If you can get an area where land is for sale, you find that you can buy more land than it would in the cities. It’s possible to pay $1000 for an acre of land in rural West Virginia.

However, the closer you get to urban centers, the price increases. Still, it’s not as expensive as the big cities in the country. Owning land in West Virginia is a good investment in the long term. You can leave the land alone, lease it or live in it.

It’s Cheaper to Build a House in West Virginia

While many people prefer to purchase a built home, you can always build a new one. Given how affordable land is in West Virginia, it’s also cheap to build a new house.

West Virginia is the 4th state in the US with a low cost of building a house. Materials are much more affordable in this state. However, you might have to pay more for labor given that laborers charge $16.47 per hour.

Still, the average cost of building a new house is $301,120. It’s about $90 to $200 per square foot, depending on where in West Virginia you want to build the house. This is for an average house, so the price might be higher when you have additions to the property.

Chance to Own Waterfront Property

Despite being a landlocked state, West Virginia has some amazing waterfront properties. Owning a waterfront property gives you a chance to live near magnificent rivers. There you can launch a boat or enjoy the flowing waters.

In addition, such properties provide a chance to start an adventure business. The waters provide thrill-seekers with amazing opportunities for adventures. Owning land with a waterfront means you can find opportunities for tapping into this business.

Cons of Owning Land in West Virginia

Owning land in West Virginia has its disadvantages too. Let’s look at some of the cons you may experience.

Lack of Job Opportunities

Owning land in West Virginia to live there might pose a huge challenge. The state has many small communities and rural settings with top-notch views. However, it’s worth noting the lack of opportunities to find employment.

Without a means to earn a living, staying in West Virginian might not be the dream you thought it would be. The state has a challenging job market since its primary source of income no longer brings in lots of money. As the country moves away from using coal as a fuel source, coal mines are closing.

With few professional opportunities and a rising unemployment rate, it’s better to do due diligence before buying land with the intent of relocating.

Poor Government Services

In rural areas, the land is even more affordable in West Virginia. You can own land in these areas and build an amazing farm. But, the issue with West Virginia is the lack of services. It’s quite common to come across poor road networks in the state.

Since there’s less taxation, there are no vast amounts of money available for excellent services. If you aspire to have the best services, owning land in West Virginia might not be the best move. It’s also an issue if you want to invest in the land and require proper services.

Not Producing Income

What’s the purpose of owning land in West Virginian? It can be a challenge if the land is an income-generating investment. Life in West Virginia is slower, and you might have difficulty translating the investment into income.

When the land isn’t producing income, it defeats the purpose. It’s better to do some due diligence about the area and the state before deciding. Apart from the lack of opportunities, you might be frustrated by locals who aren’t welcoming of change.

Environmental Challenges and Protections

Check if the land you want to buy is home to any endangered species. Not only that, it’s important to know if there are any protections on the property. If there are, you might find it quite a challenge to make any changes to the natural environment of that land.

West Virginia has vast forest land and scenic areas home to endangered species and protections. You might not find animals present in the land now, but if they come there at any time, this is an issue. For instance, if bald eagle nests in the area, know that it’s protected.

Protection laws ensure the preservation of the natural environment throughout. It ensures flora and fauna flourish no matter who owns the land. Protection can greatly limit the type of activities and development you do on the land.

Lack of Diversity

West Virginia isn’t a diverse state, especially outside of Charleston. It’s common knowledge that about 90% of the local population are whites. As a minority, you might find it harder to assimilate with local communities in rural parts of the state.

A lack of diversity also accompanies beliefs that might put you in conflict with the locals. It’s better to get to know the local area and its people before buying land in this state. You might feel out of place if you intend to live on the land.

Is West Virginia a Great Place to Live?

There are pros and cons of owning land in West Virginia, but it’s a great place to live in general. It’s an area known for its strong sense of community and nice people. The big cities and towns are more welcoming to outsiders, and the state has lots of adventures.

Generally, there’s affordable living in West Virginia, pulling many people to buy land and move there. Charleston remains the number one place people want to relocate to, but there are rural settings for a farm or homesteading.

In addition, house prices and taxes are low in West Virginia. So, you won’t be too strained with a steady income source. It’s a mountain state, so you can find many adventures to keep you busy all year as an outdoor lover.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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