Each year, around 43 million Americans move. Why? There are a wide variety of reasons. Many people make their first independent moves in life in order to go to new universities. As you grow older, your reasons for moving will likely change. Often, we move to pursue new opportunities personally and professionally. Moving to a new city may open you up to a new crowd. You may move without caring about where you’re moving specifically, taking a new promotion or another kind of job opportunity. At times, the place to which you’re moving may not really be up to you; this is especially true for those who are in the military. With that being said, any of these reasons could have to do with why you’re moving to Houston — or perhaps you just want to explore this exciting, booming city!
Texas is a vast state. You may have certain ideas about what the culture and experience are like there. Maybe you’re picturing cowboy hats and cacti, but the fact is that different areas of Texas offer different challenges and opportunities. You’ll find that Houston is unlike any other city in the state, or for that matter in the country. Moving to Houston might seem intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never lived in a large city before. Some people put off the move entirely — simply because they can’t tackle the idea of the rising costs that come with moving to Houston, as well as the different lifestyle alterations they may have to make. However, there are plenty of benefits that come with moving to Houston as well. Houston often offers higher salaries than other cities in Texas, as well as a more thriving cultural scene and proximity to the University of Houston. In fact, many people actively attempt to work in the city, and make moving to Houston a top priority. With that being said, let’s look into some of the tips that will make the move easier for you. Some are universal — you should keep them in mind when moving to any city! Whereas others will specifically help you when moving to Houston. Let’s dive in!
1. Adjust Your Budget
Money is often at the top of people’s minds when they consider moving to Houston — and with good reason. Houston is one of the bigger, more metropolitan cities in Texas. And like any metropolitan city, it tends to be more expensive than small towns. If you’ve already lived in a city comparable in size to or larger than Houston, you’ll probably have an idea of how to budget. Otherwise, it can be something of a challenge. It’s important to keep in mind that if you move to Houston, you’ll likely be paid more in a manner that corresponds to the higher cost of living in the city. Of course, the housing prices in the city actually remain relatively low, especially if you’re looking to live in a single family home in the suburbs rather than an apartment in the middle of the city. Therefore, your mortgage may not be as much of a problem as you expect — but HOA costs will drive the monthly costs up a bit. As the population grows in Houston — and it has experienced a notable boom within the past few years — the housing market grows in kind. You should make sure that you have a certain amount of money in mind for your rent or the cost of your new home, and adjust your budget to accommodate that cost. You’ll want to keep in mind that there may be other changes to your budget as well; Houston is known for long commutes, and if you live in the suburbs and commute into the city you’ll need a car. Costs associated with a car, of course, include gas, insurance, and likely a monthly car payment as well if you don’t already own a paid off car. Before deciding where exactly you want to live in Houston, consider whether you want to rent and deal with a property management company, or own your own home. If you choose to own, have your home properly inspected, ensuring that things like the water heater and foundation are solid. Again, Houston is a big move, and you’ll want to be secure in your choice.
2. Location, Location, Location
Of course, money is not the only thing you should think about when deciding where to live in Houston. Moving to Houston also involves selecting which location specifically is right for you. As is the case with any city, Houston has its safer areas, which tend to be somewhat more expensive and upscale, and its developing areas. These locations may be less expensive, yet also run the risk of being somewhat more troubled with petty crime and other issues. If you’re moving to Houston with a family, you’ll likely want to be in the best neighborhoods possible, and within a good school district. Montrose is a favored neighborhood in Houston, as many residents get to live within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Midtown offers you proximity to downtown, which will certainly ensure that you’ll always be close to entertainment. But if you’re looking for the best possible schools, you’ll want to be close to the Memorial area. The Memorial neighborhood is known for being tight-knit, and it’s home to some of the best schools in the city. Of course, should you find that the best choice for you is not in your ideal school district, there are plenty of local private schools that stand as great alternatives to the public school system (which in itself is still quite strong in Houston). Depending on where you end up, you may also want to consider adding a security system to your home. Whether you’re moving to Houston or another big city, a security system adds an extra layer of protection.
3. Consider The Elements
Chances are that if you have any reservations about moving to Houston, concerns about the weather are among them. Within the past few years, weather events like Hurricane Harvey have made the news, hitting Houston hard. Of course, it’s impossible to make moving decisions based entirely on hypothetical weather incidents. A natural disaster can occur anywhere, really. But there are issues that are more likely to occur in Houston than other locations. Houston is often in the path of hurricanes and tropical storms. This makes it all the more important for you to have a car on hand — you’ll want to have an evacuation plan in place. It doesn’t have to be complicated; your plan could be as simple as relocating to stay with family in another state temporarily. However, in case you find yourself stuck at home and riding out a storm, even for a short period of time, you should have a disaster preparedness kit ready. This will involve a first aid kit, which should have gauze, bandages, ibuprofen, any prescription medications you might take, and antiseptic lotion. Your kit should also contain multi-tools, which will help you make any last minute repairs. Of course, you’ll also want to keep fresh water and non-perishable food on hand, should you find yourself locked in one place for too long. If possible, you should have your home outfitted with a generator, and try to keep power packs accessible for your phones. With that being said, there are also more abstract things to consider when prepping your home for natural disasters. Flood insurance is a must for anyone living in Houston. This ensures that, should your home sustain water damage — even if it isn’t quite on the level of Hurricane Harvey — you won’t have to worry about being financially ruined. Of course, the weather extremes can go beyond those related to water. You’ll also want to think about protecting yourself from the heat. Texas is known for its heat waves, as well as its bright, unbearable sunlight. You could very easily find yourself suffering from heat stroke if you don’t watch yourself in Houston — stay well-hydrated, and don’t push yourself on especially hot days. For that matter, don’t forget to apply sunscreen before going outside. Sun damage can ultimately lead to everything from sunburn to skin cancer, as many Houston natives can attest.
4. Maintain Your Home
As we said before, the Houston housing market is expanding as the population grows. This means that you can buy a great home for a relatively low price right now, which comes with the obvious immediate advantages of saving money. However, you should also view this as the opportunity for a long term investment. Home values in Houston are likely to go up over time, as the city progresses. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you treat your home as an investment — and maintain it over time. The aforementioned flood insurance is one great way to protect your investment. But don’t forget some of the more immediate issues that come with keeping a home in Houston. Pests can be a real problem in the city, in part thanks to Texas’s unusual climate. While you probably won’t be surprised to hear that mice can invade a Houston home just as they can anywhere else, you may be more startled to see a lizard in your house. These little pests can speed up the wear and tear in your house — hacking away at your investment. Therefore, you should have pest control services take care of any vermin you notice as quickly as possible. Along those lines, you should also think about hiring professional cleaners to help you maintain your home. For many families in Houston, professional cleaners are fairly standard, which makes their services more affordable than they would in some comparable cities. Having your home professionally cleaned will help take some of the effort out of your initial move, and smooth your transition.
5. Throw Yourself Into The Culture
Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into the city’s vibrant culture! Moving to Houston can be isolating at first, like any other move. You shouldn’t be afraid to get to know new people, especially when you’re in a city that offers so much to do. Try out a new restaurant, and perhaps attend a meet up with like-minded people. Houston offers a lot of different churches and social clubs, as well as diverting attractions. Maybe spend a day at the Houston Zoo, or try out the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Don’t let yourself hide away from the world just because you’re in a new city and don’t know anyone quite yet. The only way that you can get to know people and break the ice is by putting yourself out there. With that being said, you also shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t be discouraged if new friendships don’t happen immediately!
Moving to Houston will likely be one of the most nerve-wracking things you’ll ever do. But it will also be one of the most rewarding moves you can make. Opening yourself up to the opportunities that Houston has to offer means that you’ll be able to experience a lot more. Houston is a melting pot, and you should take full advantage of its blend of amazing culture, entertainment, beautiful sights, and rich history!
Caroline is a freelance content creator and creative writer. VCUArts alum with a focus on the arts, travel, and culture.