No one likes moving, but sometimes an opportunity that you just can’t pass up presents itself, and the only way you can take advantage of it is to move. The Houston area is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Texas, which means more people are moving there every day. In case Houston is on your list of cities to consider, we’ve put together the ultimate “Moving to Houston” checklist to help make your move a little less stressful.
Step One: Find an Apartment
You want to have somewhere to live when you get to Houston so that you don’t have to spend days or weeks in a hotel while you search for a new house or apartment. Start by figuring out your living expenses — establish a baseline using your city’s median rental rates.
In Houston, the median rental rate as of October of 2018 is $1,082 per month, but that cost can vary dramatically depending on your needs. For instance, a studio apartment will cost you around $784 a month while a three-bedroom home will cost an average of $1,434 a month. Make sure you aren’t budgeting more than 30 percent of your income for housing costs. If you’re moving to the city for a new job, try to negotiate a relocation package with your new boss.
Once you’ve found a potential rental, take some time to research the neighborhood — things like walkability, public transportation, shopping, restaurants and nightlife can all help you determine where you’d like to live in this new city. For example, the Midtown neighborhood of Houston is popular for people who like good food and nightlife within walking distance.
Step Two: Figure out the Logistics
The next step in our moving-to-Houston guide is figuring out the logistics of the move, and that starts with picking a moving company. Do you want to pay for a full-service move where they pack and move your stuff for you, or do you want to pack on your own and just get help with shipping? Get estimates and references from at least three companies to help you make the best decision.
The next part of this step is packing, and that starts with taking an inventory of all your possessions. Not only will you know all of what you’re packing this way, but you’ll also be able to sort through your things and figure out what you don’t want to take with you to Houston. Donate anything you don’t want to bring, or hold a garage sale. The earlier you start packing, the less stressful it will be.
Make sure you cover all your bases for things that you’ll need immediately after arriving at your new home. Set aside items like dishware, utensils, bedding, coat hangers, power strips, batteries and a trash can, or pack them so that they’re the first things to come off your moving truck.
Be careful with your important files — these items should come with you rather than being packed into the moving truck. Even if you forget everything when moving, don’t forget documents like birth certificates, car titles and other paperwork that you can’t live without.
Don’t forget to call and set up your new utilities before you arrive at your new home. In some cities, you may also need to obtain a permit to park your moving truck while you’re unloading — in Houston, it’s recommended that you contact the Parking Management office to determine if a permit is necessary for your new address.
Step Three: Make the Move
Moving day is coming, but there are still a few last-minute things you need to do to make sure you’re ready. Start by saying goodbye — throw a farewell party, and hit up your favorite neighborhood spots that you’ll miss the most after you move.
If you’re making a long drive in your personal vehicle, make sure you get it serviced by a mechanic before you leave. Any hotels you’re going to be staying at should be booked ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about finding lodging after a long day of driving. Pack a personal bag to take with you too, and include stuff like clothes, toiletries, your money and credit cards and any personal electronics you want with you.
Step Four: Settle In
Once your move is over and you’ve started unpacking, there are still a few things left that you need to do. Make sure you update your address for anyone who needs it — mail forwarding only works for so long, after all. Talk to your banks, your employer, your utilities, your insurance company and any subscriptions that you get.
Keep your receipts — any moving expenses may be able to be deducted from your taxes at the end of the year. If moving to Houston means moving to a new state, make sure you stop by the DMV and update your license and vehicle registration.
No one likes moving, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’ve got a big move to the Lone Star State in your future, make sure you check off everything on this moving guide for moving to Houston, and you’ll be able to enjoy your new opportunities that much more.