Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to West Virginia

West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. The state offers an active lifestyle, a friendly feel, affordable living, and a good quality of life. In addition to this, West Virginia has a strong job market. You’ll be mesmerized by the landscapes, rivers, and streams. You’ll feel compelled to go outdoors. 

No matter where you are in West Virginia, you’ll get to find some beautiful beaches where you can do whitewater rafting, experience mountain biking, rock climbing, and discover delicious food at every corner. 

If you are considering moving to West Virginia, there are several things you need to know and prepare. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to West Virginia.

What to know before your move to West Virginia

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1. First steps before moving to West Virginia

When moving to West Virginia, choose a reputable moving company or consider a DIY approach. To find the best moving company, prioritize positive reviews, a professional website, and a track record of experience.

Finding a job 

In West Virginia, you not only have job security but also access to unparalleled outdoor experiences, and a highly competitive cost of living. The most common job groups in West Virginia, based on the number of people, are:

  • Driver/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers – Employing 22,906 individuals.
  • Cashiers – Providing jobs for 22,010 people.
  • Elementary & Middle School Teachers – With 18,918 educators in the state. 

Data USA (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to West Virginia City from different parts of the country include:

  • Flying: For flights to and from West Virginia, Charleston’s Yeager Airport (CRW) is the largest and busiest, making it the primary choice. Travelers booking flights should aim for Huntington or Charleston.
  • Train: Amtrak’s “Capitol Limited” runs daily between Washington, DC, and Chicago, stopping in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle at Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg. Additionally, MARC train service connects Martinsburg to Washington, DC, Monday through Friday.
  • Bus: Four bus companies serve West Virginia, connecting the state to 15 destinations. FlixBus US leads with 10 in-state routes for convenient travel within West Virginia.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable long-distance moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival in West Virginia

  • If you’re moving to West Virginia , sign up for USPS mail forwarding on their website or at your local Post Office. It costs a bit over a dollar for 6 months and around $20 for a 6-month extension to redirect your mail to your new address. 

  • When moving to West Virginia, sell or donate what you won’t need to simplify your move. Sell or donate household items and personal belongings that won’t be useful. Decide if you want to sell them on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or donate to a non-profit organization

2. Upon your arrival in West Virginia

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Roaming around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily transit pass to save money.

You can easily get around in West Virginia. There are several options available. 

WV MAT – provides bus, rail, and metro services in West Virginia

WVPTA– provides services including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, trolleys, and ferries.

Type of fare

Rate

Day pass

$4.00

Monthly pass

$35.00

TTA (Oct 2023)

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to West Virginia and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your local DMV in person and provide various documents to include proof of identification and Social Security number, and you’ll have to surrender your out-of-state license. You’ll receive a temporary license that will be valid for 60 days, your permanent license will be sent to you within 15 business days.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to West Virginia, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle with the WV DMV within 30 days of establishing residency. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. Before you apply, you will need to register and title your vehicle at your local WVDOT office. To get your car registered in West Virginia, you will need: 

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in West Virginia, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in West Virginia, you can register to vote online, by mail and in person. To register by mail, you’ll need to fill out the West Virginia Voter Registration Application (Form R-3) and mail it to your local county clerk’s office. 

To apply in person, you can visit your local West Virginia DMV office or county clerk office. You should also change your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to West Virginia, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. In West Virginia, some banks like Clear Mountain Bank, Hancock County Savings Bank, Pendleton Community Bank, and West Virginia Federal Credit Union offer free checking accounts. National banks also offer free accounts when certain fee-waiving requirements are met.

Getting health insurance

West Virginia adheres to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which no longer mandates federal health insurance coverage. Currently, West Virginia has not implemented its own state health insurance mandate.

The healthcare costs in West Virginia City are as follows:

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$154.83

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)

$983.00

Gym

$10.00

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in West Virginia

West Virginia

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Charleston. It offers a dense suburban feel, a thriving nightlife, a diverse culture, and a lot of amenities.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Star City. Star City offers good public schools, proximity to amenities, and friendly people.

If you are single, you should consider moving to Morgantown. Morgantown is home to the University of West Virginia. That’s why a lot of young professionals live here. In addition to this, it has some high-rated educational institutes, a friendly feel, and some wonderful programs and people.

Setting up home services 

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia is responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunication services in West Virginia. They ensure that consumers are provided with accessible, safe and reliable energy services at reasonable rates. 

You can visit their website and search for electricity, water, and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry. The main purpose of PSC is to keep the customers well-informed regarding the services they are getting from the utility providers.

West Virginia ranks 44th in internet connectivity in the USA, with 30 providers and 93% of residents having access to 25 Mbps internet. Internet providers in the state offer diverse options, including cable, DSL, fiber, and satellite. The best internet providers offer bundling, multiple speeds, and affordable packages.

Utilities

Cost

Basic

(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment

$203.20

Internet

(60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

$60.33

Total

$263.53

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Should you rent or buy?

As of March 2023, West Virginia offers the most affordable homeownership in the United States, with an average house price of $146,578. This is 57% below the national average of $338,649.

When it comes to finding rental apartments in West Virginia, useful websites include Apartments.com, Apartmentguide.com, and Zillow. If you’re in the market to purchase a house, Zillow, Century21, and Redfin are reliable platforms to consider.

Cost of rent in West Virginia City

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Huntington (Outside of Center)

$600.00

$925.00

Cost of buying a property in West Virginia City

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

West Virginia

$146,578

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & WV News (August 2023)

4. Cost of living in West Virginia

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$600.00

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($53.78 multiplied by 4)

$215.12

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$203.20

Internet with 60 Mbps

$60.33

Transit pass

$35.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$45.00

Gym membership 

$10.00

Total

$1,168.65

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Residents in West Virginia are at a high risk of floods, severe storms, winter storms, wildfires, landslides, tropical storms and tornadoes. Therefore, getting home insurance will prove to be valuable.

5. The weather in West Virginia

On average, there are 164 sunny days per year in West Virginia. The highest temperature in summer is 83° and the winter low is 21 degrees. West Virginia averages 33 inches of snow per year and 45 inches of rain. Summers in West Virginia are hot and humid, and winters are cold and snowy. In addition to this, residents of West Virginia experience a beautiful fall season.

6. What to do as a local in West Virginia

After you are done settling into your new home in West Virginia, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in West Virginia include:

  • Blackwater Falls State Park – It’s a great place to spend the day with your family and friends. Some fun activities include camping, hiking, snow sports, swimming, boating and much more. 
  • New River Gorge – An easy getaway to have a fun and exciting weekend with family. 
  • Berkeley Springs State Park– A place for great fun and lots of laughs. The park is renowned for its warm spring water. Enjoy activities including camping, swimming, golf and historical site tours. 

Visit the popular cities in West Virginia: Charleston, Morgantown, Huntington, and Wheeling.

7. Fun facts about West Virginia

  • Fun Fact #1: West Virginia is also known as ‘The Mountain State’ and ‘The Panhandle State.’
  • Fun fact #2: The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Fun Fact #3: West Virginia has the oldest population of any state in the USA.

Conclusion

West Virginia is an ideal place to live due to its stunning natural beauty and affordability. With the Appalachian Mountains and rivers, there are endless outdoor activities for locals to enjoy. 

The state’s rich culture and history, along with cost-effective real estate, provide an attractive living environment. Many of its towns and cities offer a small-town feel, which can be appealing for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big cities.

Prepare for West Virginia’s diverse weather, and discover local activities. Fun facts about the city add a unique touch to your move. 

Are you planning on moving soon? Find out the best West Virginia movers to assist you

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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