What You Should Know About Relocating to Houston

After a decade of steady growth, the city of Houston, Texas shows no signs of slowing down. The city may have gotten its start as a trade center and port town, but its economy has diversified over the past 50 years. Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center (the world’s largest medical complex) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (which has earned it the nickname “Space City.”) More than two dozen Fortune 500 companies are currently headquartered in Houston, including Phillips 66, Sysco, and ConocoPhillips.

Rooftop View in Houston Texas
Houston at a Glance

Houston is currently the fourth largest city in the U.S., with a population of around 7 million in the expansive metro area. Located roughly 50 miles from the Gulf Coast, Houston enjoys sunny weather year-round but is unfortunately cursed with extreme heat (and the occasional hurricane or tropical storm) during the summer. Houston has teams in every major league sport except for hockey and plays host to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is one of the largest rodeos in the world. A major cultural hub, Houston’s Museum District features nearly 50 museums and the walkable Theater District is home to the city’s year-round resident theater, ballet, symphony, and opera companies.

Find my Houston apartment!
Get connected with an agent

houston apartment kitchen 2 bedroom
Best Places to Live in Houston

Houston is sometimes called “Bayou City” because a number of inner waterways cut through it, creating the natural barriers that define its neighborhoods and districts. In addition, Houston proper is separated from its surrounding suburbs by Loop 610. Apartments and townhouses are the norm “inside the Loop,” while those dwelling “outside the Loop” trend towards single-family homes. Check out our Houston Neighborhoods page if you’d like the rundown on different parts of the city. And when you’re ready to start looking for the perfect Houston Apartment, give Smart City Locating a shout to simplify your search.

What do I do if I have to move in and start work by a certain date, but I’m not able to visit Houston beforehand?

No worries! Leasing a unit sight unseen can be stressful — photos don’t always do apartments justice. Our agents are happy to do a detailed video walkthrough or FaceTime tour so you feel 100% confident about where you’ll be living.

I need to move to Houston 5 months from now, are you guys able to help?

While you can narrow down potential neighborhoods and apartment complexes ahead of time, properties typically don’t provide updated availability until 60 days out from your move-in date.

What if I am coming to Houston for only one or two days to look at apartments?

This is our full-time job, and all of our agents work pretty much all the time. If you’re coming in on a Saturday, just let your agent know and we can have updated availability and pricing for you to look over before you come. We love touring out-of-towners because we get to show off how much we love this city. We can show you the different neighborhoods, the best bars to meet new people, and all of our favorite restaurants — we’re foodies around here!

What neighborhood should I live in?

There are a ton of factors that go into choosing the perfect neighborhood like budget, work location, and lifestyle. Browse through our neighborhood guides to get a feel for the city, and definitely ask your agent for recommendations!

How do I set up electricity/utilities?

Unlike some cities that have only one electricity provider, Houston has many options to choose from (which can be a little overwhelming!). A Relocation Specialist from our Smart City Connect team can help you compare rates and get the best deals. Click here to learn more and get started with this free service.

What movers should I use?

We recommend (and can get you discounts with) a number of both national and local movers! Check out our Smart City Connect partners right here.

What are my transportation options?

The METRORail has a number of stops throughout the city, but the easiest way to get around Houston’s sprawling highways is by car. If you’re not planning on bringing a personal vehicle, we know plenty of properties within walking distance to METRO stops!

Are Houston properties pet-friendly?

Houston is SUPER pet-friendly — our office included! There are plenty of bars and restaurants that allow furry friends to hang out on their patios, and almost all apartments allow non-aggressive dogs (with a deposit). Some places even have onsite amenities like pet parks and grooming stations!

If you have an “aggressive” breed (we use quotations because we know your pit bull is sweet), then your options will be more limited, but they still exist. Let an agent know, and we can give you the details on what to expect.

What do deposits and upfront costs look like when renting in Houston?

We love telling people who move from big cities like New York or LA about deposits here in Houston. They usually range anywhere from $0-400. Sometimes higher if there are credit issues, but no apartment requires first and last month’s rent, which is awesome. Some apartments will even give you a month of free rent! You will also pay an application fee of $0-100 and an admin fee of $0-300. We’re pretty good at finding deals though, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $500 for move-in costs with good credit. If you have a pet, your deposit will be a bit more.

Fridge, Microwave, Parking?

All apartments in Houston come with a fridge and a microwave. Parking is usually included unless it’s a downtown property or if you have specific requests.

Do you offer furnished and/or short term leases?

We’ve partnered with CORT to provide our clients the option to rent furniture instead of outright purchasing everything. Get 50% off your first month when you use the code SMARTCITY50!

As for short-term leases, the minimum lease term we work with is 6 months, but pricing is usually MUCH higher for short-term leases — sometimes double the price. We always tell people that if they’re planning on moving here for at least a year, it’s well worth it to sign on for a 12-month lease to save money.

Find your dream apartment

Call or Text Us