West Virginia Real Estate Practices

Attorney Involvement

Please describe any requirements under applicable state law for attorney, abstractor or other special professional involvement, for example, in the search, examination, opinion of title, signing, closing, disbursement, recording, preparation of documents, and/or policy-issuance.

Unauthorized Practice of Law opinion (UPL) states that attorneys must be directly or indirectly involved with all aspects of closings, including the search of the public records; contract searches should be done by or under the supervision of a West Virginia attorney. Title insurance may only be issued upon an opinion by a licensed West Virginia attorney. 

Cancellation/Commitment Fee

Does your state permit or require a cancellation fee or commitment fee upon cancellation?

Commitment fees are not allowed. Cancellation fees are allowed to the extent of work performed prior to cancellation. 

Certificate of Release (of Mortgage)

If anyone other than the lender (such as a title agent, settlement agent, underwriter or attorney) has the authority to release the security instrument, please describe.

Lienholder or Trustee.

Deeds

Please describe the kinds of deeds that are customary for commercial and residential transactions. Please describe the kinds of deeds that are generally not insurable.

General and Special Warranty and Quitclaim deeds are customary and insurable.

Joinder of Spouses

If a non-title holding spouse is required to join in the execution of a deed or a security instrument, please describe. Any analogous rights, such as those in a civil union or equivalent, should also be addressed. 

Not required if arm’s length transaction (BFP for value).

Mortgage Tax

Is there a mortgage tax in your state? If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary? If it is uniform, please describe. 

No.

Payment Customs

Who customarily pays for: "

(a) Owner’s Policy?
(b) Transfer Tax & Recording Fee?
(c) Survey Charges?
(d) Closing/Settlement Fees?

(a) buyer
(b) Seller pays transfer privilege tax; buyer pays all others
(c) buyer
(d) each pays for own services provided

Policy Countersignatures

Please describe any statutory or regulatory requirements for countersignatures in order to issue the policy (for example, residency requirements).

No requirements.

Real Estate Taxes

Please describe the general tax year, due dates, and delinquency dates, including lien dates and payment cycle.

Tax year is calendar year, but collected semi-annually. Discounts may apply if paid within certain time frames.

Search and Examination Fees

Is it permissible and/or customary to charge a separate search and/or examination fee, and under what circumstances? If your jurisdiction is all-inclusive, please state that.

Yes.

Search Requirements

Is there a minimum period of time for a title search required: (a) by state law, (b) pursuant to marketable record title acts, or (c) by any other applicable title examination standards (e.g., state bar association)? Please respond to each category. If a minimum search period exists for any category, please state it.

(a)(b)(c) None. Accepted practice is 40 years constitutes a full search, although some attorneys still insist on 60 years. 

Security Instruments (Deed of Trust vs. Mortgage)

Please describe the customary and permissible form(s) of security instruments used in your state. 

Who can be listed as the trustee on the Deed of Trust (e.g., residency and/or natural person requirements, etc.)? Can an underwriter or title agent be designated as the trustee, and, if so, is it customary?

Deeds of Trust, although Mortgages are acceptable. Trustees must be residents of the state; if corporation, must be principal place of business.

Standard Exceptions and Requirements

Please identify the standard exceptions and requirements that are customarily used in your state.

West Virginia uses the standard exceptions.

  1. Rights or claims of parties in possession not shown by the Public Records.
  2. Easements, or claims of easements, not shown by the Public Records.
  3. Encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes, or other matters which would be disclosed by an accurate survey or inspection of the Land.
  4. Any lien, or right to a lien, for services, labor, or material heretofore or hereafter furnished, imposed by law and not shown on the Public Records.
  5. Taxes or special assessments which are not shown as existing liens by the Public Records.

State-specific Policy Variations

If there are state-specific changes to the provisions in the ALTA policies (e.g., Arbitration, Minerals), please describe.

Must delete arbitration and modify payment provision.

Title Insurance Form and Filing Regulations

Please describe the form and/or rate filing requirements, if any, related to policies and endorsements. Please describe any applicable rating bureau. 

Rates are filed, no rating bureau.

Transfer Taxes

Is there a transfer tax in your state? If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary? If it is uniform, please describe.

Privilege tax paid by seller, uniform throughout the state.

Usury

Is usury coverage available?

Yes, commercial.

Withholding Taxes

What are your state’s requirements, if any, with regard to withholding proceeds from a sale, similar to but not including FIRPTA?

Tax must be withheld on sales by non-residents.

Witness Requirements

Are witnesses required? If so, please describe.

Acknowledgment only; witnesses are not required on any deed or security instrument.