Thinking of moving to Houston? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a comprehensive moving guide full of tips from cost of living to nightlife.
Section One: Cost of living in Houston
For most, housing makes up the majority of the cost of living in a city. As of our most recent Zumper National Rent Report, Houston was the 29th most expensive rental market in the country, with a median one-bedroom rent of $1,150 and a median two-bedroom rent of $1,440. It’s worth noting that these are median prices, meaning that half of all available inventory will fall below this level. Rents also vary widely depending on which specific neighborhood you’re searching in, so don’t worry if these numbers sound high.
Here’s a snippet of our latest Houston rent price map to give you an idea:
Food and Utilities
According to a report by SmartAsset, a typical utility bill (including electricity, heating, and water) in Houston will cost you around $157 per month. For internet, expect to pay around $45 extra per month.
Expect to pay $12-14 per person for a casual meal in Houston, and upwards of $50 for a nicer meal for two (not including drinks). For groceries, Numbeo.com quotes a minimum cost per person of $332 per month. This assumes basic necessities and not organic groceries or high end ingredients, for instance.
Residents of Houston pay an 8.25% sales tax, but since Texas has no state income tax, you won’t find yourself owing any money to the state when April rolls around.
Section Two: Moving to Houston
Moving to Houston doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Before starting your search, make sure you’ve thought through the following:
– Must-haves and what you’d be willing to compromise on. You may need to give up certain amenities to live in your favorite neighborhood, or otherwise look for a smaller layout or a different Apartment type.
– Your search horizon. The ideal time to start searching is between 1-2 months before your planned move-in date. However, don’t be stressed if you only have a couple weeks to go; a surprising amount of rental inventory is usually available for immediate move-in.
– Your favorite neighborhoods. We’ve put together a curated list below of some of the more popular areas to get you started on where to live – whether you’re moving by yourself or with a family, looking for a residential area or one in the middle of the action.
– Documents you’ll need when applying for an apartment. These will vary depending on the landlord, but most require verification of work, a credit report, and references from previous landlords.
– Whether you’d like to live alone or with roommates. Roommates can mean considerable cost savings, upwards of 50-60% depending on the amount of people.
Houston is made up of hundreds of different neighborhoods. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular areas we’ve seen for renters.
– Great Uptown
Located in the heart of Houston, this neighborhood is a perfect mix of sophisticated and diverse. An elegant area with a relaxed vibe, Great Uptown might be for you if you’re looking for comfort, convenience, community, and proximity to great dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Named after the world’s first domed sports arena, this neighborhood was once home to the Houston Astros and the Houston Oilers. Today, the neighborhood is a commercial and residential epicenter with tons of apartments and houses for rent. Located on the southside of Houston, the Astrodome neighborhood has numerous large buildings and a city feel, making it an attractive option for young professionals.
Midtown is located just southwest of Downtown Houston, making it a great place to live if that’s where you find yourself working. There are tons of different types of rental properties here, containing amenities from exposed brick and lofts to private garages.
Here you’ll enjoy the homey feel of boutique restaurants paired with the familiar comfort of larger chains. Check out the Westchase Farmers Market or enjoy the outdoor air along the Westchase District Library Loop Trail
– Greenway/Upper Kirby
Upper Kirby is one of Houston’s hottest and fastest-growing neighborhoods located close to Rice University. If you’re a foodie, art lover, or love to shop, this is definitely the place for you. It’s one of the most happening parts of town and you can find everything to eat from burgers to New Orleans cuisine to frozen yogurt and ice cream.
– Braeswood Place
This neighborhood makes a great home for many employees of the nearby medical center.
– Eldridge – West Oaks
Booming with residential and business development, West Oaks boasts the Westside Hike and Bike Trail, Ray Miller park, George Bush Park, and Kendall Library.
– Clear Lake
Clear Lake is one of Houston’s largest neighborhoods, but still has that small town feel. It’s located nearby the beach as well as the Baybrook Mall, Kemah Boardwalk, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and more. You’ll want to live here if you’re trying to be close to the University of Houston.
Section Three: How to find an apartment in Houston
There are a number of different ways to going about finding an apartment in Atlanta.
1. Let an apartment locator search for you
Apartment locators are services that will essentially apartment hunt for you. Rather than searching online, locators will understand your budget and preferences to curate places according to your tastes. Locators are completely free for apartment hunters, as they are paid on the landlord side.
Zumper Select is a free apartment search concierge and apartment locator in Houston. After providing your budget, preferences, and move-in date, a local agent will curate a list of apartments for you. Ultimately, agents care most about your well-being and will only offer places that fit your preferences. If there’s a match, the concierge will schedule your tours and make sure you get the best deal available.
2. Search yourself using online listing services
Options in Houston include:
– Zumper: 3,400 active rental listings
– PadMapper: 3,100 active rental listings
– Craigslist Houston: great for sublets and rooms
3. Walk around in neighborhoods you’re interested in
Landlords will post signs directly on apartments with contact information. Though a little time consuming, you can get a sense of the exact type of building and area an apartment is located in.
Section Four: Transportation
METRORail & Bus
METRORail offers accessible and convenient service from downtown Houston all the way out to NRG Park. With three lines running through the heart of the city, it’s likely that the rail system will be able to get you where you need to go. A one way fare on METRORail costs $1.25.
METRO also offers several local bus lines, most of which run on city streets and make stops at every other block. A one-way fare for the bus also costs $1.25.
Having a car in Houston
Many Houston residents do own cars, mostly for commuting purposes. It’s not entirely difficult to find an apartment with parking, but be ready to pay a little bit more per month for your own spot. If you do plan to own a car, make sure to consider some of the other costs that come along with doing so as well. Gas averages about $1.97 per gallon, and auto insurance in Texas is among the highest in the country.
In the absence of a car, ridesharing is a common mode of getting around. Uber and Lyft are the two biggest players in this space, with on-demand ride hailing directly from any smartphone.
If you don’t want to own a car, but still want the freedom of driving a vehicle, car sharing is a great option. Services like Zipcar offer the ability to rent cars on-demand by the hour or day.
Low-Cost Bike Share
Houston has BCycle program which currently consists of 43 stations with 335 bikes available for short-term rental throughout the city. If you’re into this form of transportation, memberships allow you to take unlimited 60-minute trips at a cost of $9 per month or $99 per year. You can learn more or sign up at houston.bcycle.com.
Section Five: Additional Resources
Things to do in Houston
https://www.mlb.com/astros/schedule (Astros schedule)
http://www.houstontexans.com/team/season-schedule.html (Texans schedule)
This post first appeared on The Zumper Blog | Rental Market Trends, Real Estat, please read the originial post: here