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. An estimated 1.2 million people will be moving to Houston over the next 10 years. Houston may not get the same attention as other Texas cities, but it has certainly become an inviting place to live due to its plentiful jobs, affordable housing, and low cost of living (about 4% below national average). 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 2.3 million in the city proper and 7 million in the expansive metro area. Located roughly 50 miles from the Gulf Coast, Houston is blessed with sunny weather year-round, but 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. For the more culturally minded, 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.

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 is separated from its surrounding suburbs by Loop 610. Apartments and townhouses are the norm “inside the Loop,” while those dwelling “outside the Loop” tend towards single-family homes. Check out our Houston Neighborhoods page if you’d like more information 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 and find out how we can 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! All of our agents offer video/facetime tours so you can actually see where you’ll be living. Leasing a unit sight unseen can be stressful, we like to send videos so you know if that closet will fit all of your shoes, or if that particular unit has a wine rack. We love wine.

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

This is a big one. We actually only know availability and pricing 60 days out, and while we can definitely start narrowing down potential neighborhoods and apartments, we won’t truly be able to start the search process until we’re 60 days away from move in!

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, best bars to meet new people, and definitely our favorite restaurants. We’re foodies around here.

What neighborhood should I live in?

This one is actually tough because there are so many different neighborhoods that we love!! But ultimately there are a lot of other factors that include your budget, work location, etc. that can determine which neighborhood is best for you! But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process for sure.

How do I set up electricity/utilities?

A lot of cities have only one electricity service, here in Houston we have unregulated energy so you can choose from a number of different providers. Luckily, we have a consultant that can compare rates and find the best prices! Just call or text

(713) 425-3077 to speak with the Smart City Concierge.

What movers should I use?

We always tell people to check Yelp reviews for movers, and your specific agent can give you a couple of potential movers that we’ve had good experiences with in the past!

What are my transportation options?

Houston has an awesome metro rail system that can take you pretty much anywhere. We know of plenty of Houston apartments that are within walking distance to a metro station if you’re not planning on bringing a car. But we will definitely suggest a car, only because Houston is pretty spread out. Everything is bigger in Texas.

Are pets allowed?

Houston is SUUUUUPER dog friendly. Our owner’s dog comes to our office every day. There are tons of bars and restaurants that allow dogs on their patios as well. Almost all of the apartments allow non-aggressive dogs as roommates (with a deposit), and some have dog parks, green areas, and even small yards. If you have an “aggressive” breed (we use quotations because we know your pit bull is sweet. Our office husky is the sweetest) then your options will be more limited, but they still exist. Contact us and we can give you the details on what to expect and different options.

What do deposits and upfront costs look like for 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 months 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 it’ll 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 Nickson Living to help furnish apartments through furniture rentals instead of having to purchase everything!

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 worth it to just do a year lease and save the money!

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