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10 Things to Know About Living in Houston, TX

Houston is a thriving, diverse city that offers a strong job market and endless of things to do. If you're considering a change in scenery to one of the fastest growing metro areas in the US, and the 4th largest city in the US, here's what I think you should know!

1. You are considered to be living in Houston, Texas, even if you live in one of our suburbs like Sugar Land, Katy, Cypress or Pearland.

Moving to "Houston" is a broader term than you may realize. Most people will find themselves drawn towards Houston's suburbs for a number of reasons like more affordable housing (definitely more bang for your buck), top rated schools, or even proximity to the beach or airport. It's honestly easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of options you have when moving to Houston, so it's important to identify what's most important to you when identifying a place to plant your roots. How close, if at all, do you care to be to the beach or near water? What about the grocery store? What do you like to do for fun? Do you want a condo, and older home in a more established neighborhood or a new construction home? Do good schools matter? Does proximity to an airport matter (and if so, which one)? Do you want land or a larger lot?

2. To that point, Houston is huge.

Houston proper covers 640 square miles. For comparison, LA is just over 500 and New York over 450. The entire Houston metro area, including suburbs, covers over 12,000 square miles. That's larger than the entire state of Maryland!

3. Houston is affordable.

Houston had the third lowest cost of living in the Country! For context, the average cost of living in the US is 5.9% BELOW the national average and 29.2% below the nation's most populated metro areas! With the average home price being $334,000 (at the time of writing this), the cost of entry into homeownership is much more attainable for many as well.

4. Hurricanes occur yearly!

I'll never forget having a call with a potential client moving to Houston from California and they asked "Wait, so hurricanes really happen?" LOL. Now, if you're a native Houstonian, hurricanes likely don't bother you much. Growing up, I remember my parents having "hurricane parties" where we would all bunker down together, everyone would bring food and we would ride it out. The fact is, while hurricanes do occur yearly, not every hurricane is catastrophic. Oftentimes, they turn into tropical storms by the time they hit the coast and we get lots of rain for a couple of days. Are there times when evacuation is recommended, especially if you reside on the coast? Absolutely. Never, ever, ever attempt to ride it out when they're predicting a strong storm. But it clearly doesn't deter Houston's 3.2+ million population from living here! That said, no matter where you end up in Houston, I always, always, always recommend flood insurance and here's why.

The map above shows the areas affected by flooding during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Conroe, The Woodlands and Navasota were all affected, even though they are no where near the coast. The good thing is that the farther you are from the coast and flood plains, the less flood insurance is! And it's worth it, every time!

5. Houston's tax burden is actually one of the lowest in the country, despite property taxes.

Houston (and Texas) is often dragged over our property taxes, but considering we don't have income tax it actually ranks Texas in the 6th lowest tax burden per capita in the US according to the tax foundation. Only behind Alaska, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Dakota and Michigan. On average, US residents pay approximately 11.2% of their annual income to state and local taxes. Texas residents only pay 8.6%. Fun fact, New York and Connecticut residents pay between 15.4-15.9%!

6. There is plenty to do in Houston.

Houston is home to FIVE major league professional sports teams - Houston Astros (baseball), Houston Texans (football), Houston Rockets (basketball), Houston Dynamo FC (soccer) and Houston Dash (soccer). You can pretty much catch a live game year round and ticket are generally pretty affordable. We are also home to the world's largest rodeo, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which occurs yearly for nearly a month. The HLSR offers tons of exhibitions from livestock to art, award-winning food, a huge carnival, volunteering opportunities, the rodeo and nightly live concerts that have featured artists like George Strait, The Jonas Brothers, Bruno Mars, Bun B and Blake Shelton to name A FEW!

Houston's food scene is also top notch and highly underrated. There is a remarkable amount of options in every part of the city, from well known community favorites like Sandy McGees in Richmond, to James Beard nominated Nancy's Hustle in EADO, locally owned Fielding's in The Woodlands and another James Beard nominated restaurant with AMAZING views, Pier 6 in San Leon.

I could go on for days about the amount of things there are to stay busy and meet new people in Houston. There's NASA in Southeast Houston, an entire Museum District and Art District, the Zoo, and aquarium, tons of family friendly waterparks and plenty venues, big and small, to see live music or comedians.

7. The beach is only 30 minutes to an hour away.

If you love the water, whether it be for fishing, boating or simply relaxation, Houston is a great spot to plant your roots. With Galveston beach being a short driving away for the majority of the metro area, you also have areas like Kemah, Lake Houston and Lake Conroe.

8. You should know "the loop"

Inside the loop, or "inner loop," refers to everything inside of the 610 highway the circles Houston, in this case the green circle you see here. The inner loop contains River Oaks, The Heights, Downtown, EADO, Midtown, Montrose and Rice Village to name a few. It's generally much more expensive to live inside the loop, specifically if you're looking to buy as the average price point here is over $600,000 and goes up to OVER $14 million. If you're determined to live here for under say, $2500 a month, you're probably going to end up in an apartment (or condo). The red circle is the Beltway, or Sam Houston Tollway, and there's even another almost circular high way outside of that.

9. You should get used to commuting.

To multiple of my points above, Houston is gigantic. There are actually zero single family homes downtown, which would be the most walkable area of the city. So if your goal is to live in downtown Houston, you're likely going to be in an apartment or condo. As I've mentioned previously, a lot of people are drawn out to the suburbs due to affordability and proximity and then commute towards the inner loop for work. I've had multiple clients move to Houston from places like Chicago and New York whom had never owned a car before. While we do have Uber and some public transportation, I wouldn't say it's always the most efficient option and very few people I know solely rely on those options. I lied. I know NO ONE who solely relies on those options... Lol.

10. Houston is HOT.

Consider yourself warned! We don't a lot of differences between the seasons. I've experienced many Christmases that were 80-90 degrees. It's common to go many years without seeing snow, too. I want to say I was 11 before I saw my first snowfall in Houston! On the bright side, due to our proximity to the coast, it's pretty humid and it'll keep your skin feeling moisturized and glowing. And I don't mean that as a joke! When I travel to Austin, only 2-3 hours away, my face will start cracking and peeling due to being used to all the moisture in the air in Houston! It's not something you always notice, ladies, but bad hair days are something the weatherman will warn you about more often than not. ;)

Considering a move to Houston, Texas? Our team would love to help. Check out our destination guide here and reach out if we can answer any questions! Whether you're moving next month, need to find somewhere to live tomorrow or you're in the beginning stages of weighing your options, our goal is to be your resource.




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