Moving to Houston

Houston is growing rapidly as more people realize it’s a great place to call home. Known globally for NASA’s significance in space exploration, new residents are attracted to the strong economy, continued job growth, rich culture, and high quality of life. The most populous city in Texas, Houston is a lively, bustling port city with booming industries that include energy, transportation, and healthcare – and Houston boasts the second-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country.

Residents hail from all over the world, lending an ethnically diverse and culturally vibrant vibe to this cosmopolitan city. Award-winning chefs and a fantastic variety of local and international cuisines have put Houston on the map as the culinary capital of Texas. Space City is ground zero for finding the best bites no matter what you’re craving. If you have school-age children, you’ll love Houston’s stellar public education system, with many districts offering some of the top educational opportunities in the state. Post-secondary options are top-quality too – Houston is home to the University of Houston, Rice University, and several other highly respected colleges and universities.

No matter what you’re looking for in a new city, Houston has something to offer. As you start planning your move to this Texan gem, let Great Guys Long Distance Movers show you the way. The following guide highlights important things to know about your new hometown, discusses the best areas of the city to look for housing, and equips you with important relocation tips. Best of all, we give you access to free moving quotes from Houston’s best moving companies. We want your move to be seamless and worry-free.

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Quality Moving Services from Houston Movers

Professional Houston moving companies will make your transition to H-Town look effortless. Find all the services you could need from our network of top-rated movers. It’s easy, and it’s free. All you need to do is click ‘Get Quote.’

Interstate Movers

Moving from out of state? Houston has a variety of state-to-state moving services that will help you get from point A to point B with minimal fuss. You can leave the daunting task of moving to professionals and focus on keeping the rest of your life in order.

Intrastate and Local Moves

If you’re moving within Texas or the Houston area, consider a moving company that focuses on intrastate or local moves. These companies know the area and are pros at making sure your move goes smoothly. Better yet, they often have relationships with other local companies, like realtors or cleaning services that can make setting up your new apartment or home a breeze.

Small Load Moves

If you only have a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, you might need less moving assistance than moving a whole house. We’ll connect you with moving companies that specialize in small moves. Let them do the heavy lifting.

Furniture Shipments

For those with a lot of furniture to move, be sure to go with a furniture moving company that’s equipped to handle heavy difficult-to-maneuver items. From couches to beds and everything in between, your furniture will arrive safely and without incident.

Piano Transport

When you have specialty items, like a piano, moving gets more complicated. Pianos are often more difficult to move than most other items and given their value, it’s a job best left to professionals. Click ‘Get Quote’ and we’ll find you the best Houston area piano moving services that are qualified to move your piano carefully and expertly.

Art & Antiques

If you have rare or expensive art or antiques, it’s a good idea to go with a moving company that has substantial experience moving valuable and fragile items. These companies will carefully pack, crate, and transport your items, making sure they arrive safely.

Storage-in-Transit

Each move you make is unique. If there’s going to be some downtime in between leaving your old place and moving into your new one, consider looking into storage-in-transit services. A moving and storage company will provide temporary storage for your belongings in a clean, secure warehouse until you’re ready for them.

Car Shipping

Another common issue with any move is how to best transport your car. If driving across the country doesn’t make you jump for joy, consider working with a car shipping company to get your wheels to their destination. As a bonus, you won’t put so much wear and tear on your car, thereby ensuring that it’s in tip-top shape for your new Houston adventures.

Packing Services

For help with packing, consider working with a company that has experienced teams to pack your possessions for you. A packing service not only saves you time and energy but also ensures that all your items are packed safely and securely.

Residential Moves

If you’re moving your possessions from one place to another, it’s a good idea to determine exactly what kind of moving services you need. Residential moving refers to moving items from one household to another. If you only have standard items to move such as furniture and other personal possessions, this is the right kind of moving service for you.

Commercial Moves

Commercial moves refer to moves from one business place to another. These moves can be more labor-intensive, as they often involve moving special equipment and merchandise. If you need help moving your office, workspace, or corporation, we’ll help you find a qualified commercial mover.

Same Day, Emergency, and Short Notice Moves

If you’re moving on short notice, a variety of companies provide same-day or last-minute moving services. Whether your original moving plans fell through, or you’re leaving sooner than expected, these companies can take the stress out of a stressful situation.

Moving Supplies

Looking for supplies to help you with your move? We’ll set you up with a moving company that offers a variety of packing supplies, from sturdy boxes to padding for heavy or fragile items.

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Living in Houston, TX: What to Know Before Moving to Houston

Interested in moving to Houston? Located right on the Gulf of Mexico, metropolitan Houston is home to 6,636,208 residents, but just about 2,300,000 people reside in the City of Houston. Learn a little more about this thriving metropolis before you make the big leap.

Pros and Cons of Living in Houston

Pros:

  • Low cost of living
  • No state income tax
  • Diverse economy
  • Plentiful job opportunities
  • Excellent school districts

Cons:

  • Urban sprawl
  • Traffic
  • Lack of sufficient public transit
  • High crime rates
  • Lack of zoning

Tax Rates

Curious to know how much of your paycheck will go to taxes?

  • State income tax: Texas is a no income tax state, so you’ll enjoy immediate tax savings.
  • Property tax: Across Harris County, the average property tax rate is 2.259%, which is higher than the national average property tax rate of 1.211%. On a home valued at $250,000, you could expect to pay just over $5600 in taxes.
  • Sales tax: Statewide, the sales tax rate is 6.25%, but the county and local governments tack on an additional 2%, for a total Houston sales tax rate of 8.25%.

Housing Market

Given the size of Houston and the quality of life the city offers, a huge perk is that housing prices are surprisingly affordable. Zillow reports a median home listing price of $299,800 as of June 2019 and forecasts a 1.9% rise for 2020. This price is $73,000 cheaper than the nationwide median home price of $226,800.

Despite low home prices, plenty of Houstonians still opt to rent – renters comprise 48.2% of the population. Surprisingly, rent is more expensive here than across the rest of the US. As of June 2019, the average monthly rental rate in the city was $1,550 and in the Houston Metropolitan Area, $1,650.

Your dollars can even go a little further in certain neighborhoods. Just keep in mind that you may have to sacrifice crime rates, quality of education, or location for a lower mortgage and more space. The most affordable neighborhoods are Pasadena, Far Northeast, Far North, Downtown, Meyerland, Northeast, Sugarland, and Southeast.

Cost of Living

Compared to other similar cities, Houston has a relatively low cost of living. Based on the US average expense index of 100, the cost of living in Houston is 104.8. Expect lower prices than average on everything from groceries to healthcare, to utilities.

However, expect to pay more in transportation expenses. Given the city’s sprawl and limited public transportation, you’ll likely need a car to get around. The miles you’ll cover to get to different parts of town add up to higher tolls, gas consumption, and a lot of expensive wear and tear on your vehicle. But given the quality of life and affordable cost of living, Houston is a great choice even if you’ll be spending a bit more on transportation.

The median household income is $62,900, compared to the average US median income of $53,482. Based on data from the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four living in Harris County, TX, will pay $1,038 for housing, $711 for food, $1,012 for childcare, $1,093 for transportation, $924 for health care, $706 for other necessities, and $592 for taxes. The monthly total for these expenses is $6,084.

Weather and Natural Disasters

Houston’s climate, like that of much of the Southeastern US, is classified as humid subtropical. Situated right on the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is warm, humid, and prone to spontaneous thunderstorms. You can expect about 45″ of rain per year, with from 2″-5″ falling each month. Snow? No, zero, zilch.

July and August are the hottest months with highs averaging around 92-93 degrees F. Nights cool to about 74 degrees. The coolest months are December and January with highs running around 62-63 degrees and lows averaging about 44-45. Seasonal variations between summer and winter are distinct, and locals enjoy the mild spring and fall weather when it’s not too hot to golf, jog, or bike.

Natural disaster threats include hurricanes, severe tropical thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding, extreme temperatures, and wildfires. The City of Houston provides a Disaster Preparedness Guide in six languages. Be sure to download yours before you move, so you are ready for any natural disaster threats. After Hurricane Harvey, everyone wants to be completely informed and prepared.

Economy and Job Market

Houston’s economy is thriving, with many job opportunities in a host of different fields. The job market increased by 3.2% in 2018, and as of August 2019, Harris County unemployment was 3.8%, down from 4.7% in 2018. The US unemployment rate is also at 3.8%.

The city’s top industries are energy, aerospace and defense, bioscience, high-technology, and government. The Houston metro area makes up the largest concentration of petrochemical manufacturing in the world, and some of Houston’s biggest names in oil and gas include Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips, and Occidental Petroleum. While Houston has a wealth of traditional energy resources, it’s also looking toward the future by focusing on environmentally-friendly energy sources that have growth potential for years to come.

Although nothing like the tech scene in nearby Austin, Houston has its share of job opportunities in the technology sector, with companies like HostGator, cPanel, and Centre Technologies. Houston is also famously an aerospace hub, home to NASA’s space program at Johnson Space Center, a sprawling 1620-acre campus southeast of downtown.

With some of the best medical facilities in the country, Houston has many job opportunities in the biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Texas Medical Center is a renowned facility that conducts world-class medical research and inspires the growth of numerous other related health facilities and research institutions. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, part of the University of Texas, is regarded as one of the top cancer treatment hospitals in the nation.

Executives will want to hire a headhunter when relocating to Houston. But no matter the type of job you’re seeking, polish up your resume before you start searching. Be sure to check the major online employment platforms. The Harris County Public Library provides a comprehensive list of job search resources worth reviewing.

Traffic and Transportation

Houston’s public transportation system includes buses, light rail, rail, HOV lanes, and paratransit systems throughout the city and its suburbs. METRO, Houston’s public transportation authority, serves several hundred thousand residents per day, and is used most heavily in the downtown hub but has recently been expanded to cover a large portion of the metro area. Even with all these public options, Houston has earned a transit score of only 37/100.

Curious to know just how big the Houston metro area is? Twenty-five thousand miles of roadways weave in and around this megacity. Four interstates serve Houston: I-10 runs east-west, I-45 runs south-north, I-69 also runs south-north, and I-610 makes a loop around the inner city. While this roadway is key for commuters, it’s also widely known as a dividing line for some of the city’s most prestigious inner loop neighborhoods, including River Oaks, Bellaire, and West University.

State Highway Beltway 8, is the next largest loop around the city, while The Grand Parkway – State Highway 99 – skirts around the outermost expanse of the city. Once you move here and register your vehicle, you’ll want to sign up for a toll pass. Many stretches of Houston roads require toll payments; having a toll pass on your car is much easier than scrambling to find spare change at each toll booth.

Even though the city is working hard to provide sufficient public transit, most Space City residents jet around in their vehicles to commute and run errands. The average commute time is 29.7 minutes, just 3.3 minutes more than the national average.

The city walk score is above average at 49/100, and if you like to strap on your sneakers, check out the neighborhoods of Montrose, The Museum District, and Midtown. Houston’s bike share program, BCycle, enables residents to rent and use bikes from self-serve stands throughout the city for a small rental fee. The bike score is 48/10.

Two major airports serve Houston: the William P. Hobby Airport, HOU; and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH; which is an international hub. Amtrak, HOS, also services Houston several times per week on routes that connect to major destinations across the country.

Diversity and Demographics

Houston has one of the youngest, ethnically and racially diverse populations in the country. About thirty-five percent of the population is Hispanic, many of whom come from just across the border in Mexico. Houston also has growing Asian and African American populations. The area is politically diverse too. Pundits consider Houston a battleground city. Religion, particularly Christianity, attracts many followers and several of the US’s biggest mega-churches are in Houston.

Houston is also a city with a younger population, making it a great choice for millennials looking to experience a city that caters to their needs. Houston’s population is steadily growing as more young people move to the area for school, employment opportunities, and to raise families. The over 65 population is small, possibly due to high property taxes, a challenge to seniors on a fixed income.

What to Do

Cool, cosmopolitan Houston has stellar arts and entertainment options, from theater to sports and everything in between. It would be impossible to even touch on the scope and variety of all there is to do in “The New Capital of Southern Cool,” as GQ refers to Houston. The Visit Houston site covers everything there is to do, from events, nightlife, golf, historic sites, parks, shopping, live music, and so much more.

The Houston Theater District contains nine professional performing arts organizations and six performance halls, so there’s always a performance going on to satisfy your artistic side. Houston features permanent organizations focused on opera, ballet, music, and theater, as well as several other experimental and collaborative groups.

Just about all of us consider eating out a fun, entertaining, and relaxing pastime. Food & Wine named Houston #1 “Top Cities to Go and Eat in 2019”. The variety of choices is almost mind-boggling. Although certainly not an all-inclusive list, check out:  51Fifteen, Adair Kitchen, Al Aseel Grill & Cafe, Brennan’s of Houston, Cafe Annie, Caracol, Dolce Vita, Gilhooley’s, Hugo’s, Irma’s, Killen’s Steakhouse, Max’s Wine Dive, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Reef, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, and Tony’s.

Houston also has many different world-class museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Contemporary Art Museum; and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Also, the Houston Zoo is the second most visited zoo in the country at over two million visitors per year. It boasts over 6,000 animals from 900 species and is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists.

Sports enthusiasts will appreciate that Houston is home to several professional teams. Originally formed in 1962, the Houston Astros are the city’s resident baseball team. Other teams include the NBA’s Houston Rockets, the NFL’s Houston Texans, and the MLS’s Houston Dynamos.

Schools and Universities

Houston is home to the seventh-largest school system in the United States and the largest in Texas. Eighteen school districts serve the greater Houston metro area. Houston Independent School District, the largest, runs 283 schools that serve over 215,000 students. Some of the top-rated schools, all rated 10/10 by greatschools.org, are Frostwood Elementary School, Memorial Drive Elementary School, Rummel Creek Elementary School, Wilchester Elementary School, Bush Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Cornerstone Academy, Lanier Middle School, DeBakey High School for Health Professionals, Eastwood Academy, Alief Early College High School, and Harmony School of Science High School. Houston’s wide selection of magnet and charter schools focus on performing arts, technology, and sciences.

Houston boasts several world-class universities. State universities include The University of Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake, and the University of Houston-Downtown. Each is a stand-alone university with separate admission requirements. Private universities include Rice University, Strayer University, Houston Graduate School of Theology, North American University, and American InterContinental University. Sectarian colleges include The College of Biblical Studies, Houston Baptist University, and the University of St. Thomas. Texas Southern University and University of Houston Law Center are public law schools while South Texas College of Law is a private law school.

You’ll find many other educational institutions, including private and community colleges in Houston and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to further your studies or send your children to an excellent school, Houston offers great choices when it comes to education.

Crime

According to data published by Neighborhood Scout, Houston is safer than only about 4% of U.S. cities. While most of the city’s crimes are non-violent property crimes, the violent crime rate is almost triple that of the Lone Star State. The violent crime ranking is 50.4/100 compared to the US average of 22.7/100. The property crime ranking is 63.2/100 compared to the US average of 35.4/100. If safety is a top concern, choose your neighborhood wisely. Kingwood, University Place, Sugar Land, Friendswood, and League City are some of the safest communities in the Houston metro area.

Houston Utility Providers

One critical step on your moving to-do list will be scheduling your utility services. Here’s a rundown on which providers serve the Houston area:

  • Electricity: The Houston electricity market is deregulated, which means you get to choose your provider. Shop providers by zip code here and easily compare rates.
  • Gas: CenterPoint Energy provides gas service to most Houston households. This company also owns most of the infrastructure used to transmit electricity, so you can sign up for gas and electric service with a single provider if you choose. To start gas service, visit their site or call 800.752.8036.
  • Water: The City of Houston operates the water and wastewater utilities in Houston proper. Go here to start your service or call 713.371.1400.
  • Trash: The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department handles trash and recycling pick-up, with weekly garbage, yard waste, and recycling collection. Each household receives a 96-gallon garbage cart and curbside recycling bins.
  • Internet and cable: Comcast, Dish TV, DIRECTV, AT&T, and Spectrum are some of the prominent cable companies in Houston, but you have several options. Go here to find providers by zip code.
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Best Neighborhoods in Houston, TX

Whether you’re looking for a small-town feel with big opportunities, a bustling neighborhood in the heart of the city, or something in between, Houston has a wide variety of neighborhoods from which to choose. There’s a little something for everyone, from the historical to the up-and-coming, and plenty of affordable housing to go around.

Braeswood Place

Far enough away from downtown to maintain a more laidback atmosphere, Braeswood Place is an excellent neighborhood with an urban feel. About two miles southwest of downtown, tucked in the corner of the 610 Loop, this neighborhood ranks highly in public education, nightlife, and diversity. The neighborhood’s residents tend to be well educated and lean liberal.

There are seven subdivisions within Braeswood Place, many of which feature newer homes constructed in the wake of 2001 tropical storm Allison, although you may still be able to find one of the area’s original ranch-style homes from the 1950s. If you prefer to lease, you won’t be alone. Data from Zumper shows that 53% of Braeswood Place residents rent their homes and a wide range of modern apartments with terrific amenities are available to rent.

  • Population: 35,000
  • Median home value: $446,800
  • Median rent: $1,305 for one-bedroom, $1,769 for two-bedroom

When they aren’t at work or in class, Braeswood residents have plenty of things to keep them occupied. The neighborhood has multiple green spaces – you can hit the sports courts at Karl Young Park or go for a stroll along the Brays Bayou Greenway Trail. Residents also have convenient access to the Braes Heights Shopping Center, a two-story mall featuring restaurants, salons, boutiques, and gyms. Bookworms will be happy among the stacks at the McGovern-Stella Link Branch Library, a branch of the Houston Public Library system that received top accolades from the Houston Press.

Braeswood Place is zoned for the Houston Independent School District and features two elementary, middle, and high schools, rated by greatschools.org as follows: Twain Elementary (9/10), Longfellow Elementary (5/10), Pershing Middle School (7/10), Pin Oak Middle School (9/10), Lamar High School (6/10), and Bellaire High School (7/10). Braeswood Place pupils may also apply to The Rice School, a K-8th-grade public charter school that offers advanced STEM courses.

Something to try: Get out for some fresh air on the Karl Young Park trail and then sit down to some Cuban fare at Cafe Piquet.

Clear Lake

Named for the surrounding chain of crystal-clear lakes, Clear Lake is a thriving suburban offshoot of Houston. There’s ample opportunity for outdoor adventures, with pristine lakes for boating, fishing, and recreation, and tons of options for hiking, running, and exploration. Clear Lake has a suburban feel, highly rated public schools, and is diverse and friendly. Residents political views tend to be moderate.

Bordered by Genoa Red Bluff Rd at the north, Beamer Rd on the west, a very jagged southern boundary, and Space Center Blvd on the east, Clear Lake is known as the neighborhood that houses the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center campus. Clear Lake offers a wealth of space and technology-related job opportunities.

Named the #2 “Best Neighborhoods to Raise a Family in Houston” by niche.com, Clear Lake appeals to the families who are space center employees. The median household income is $90,795, considerably higher than the national average of $55,322. 48% of residents have a bachelor’s or master’s degree or higher.

Clear Lake is more affordable than some surrounding neighborhoods, making it a great pick for those just starting in their careers, growing families, those seeking a suburban enclave, folks looking for a budget housing option and those eager to take advantage of the outdoor opportunities. 39% of residents rent, with 61% owning their homes.

  • Population: 82,460
  • Median home value: $200,864
  • Median rent price: $963

You won’t have far to drive for conveniences such as endless varieties of ethnic restaurants and excellent shopping options at Baybrook Mall, Clear Lake Shoppes at the Reserve, and Clear Lake Camino South. Clear Lake is known to be a safe, clean neighborhood with respectful neighbors of all races and ethnicities.

Public schools serving Clear Lake are Clear Horizons Early College High School, Clear Lake High School, Westbrook Intermediate School, all rated A+, and John F Ward Elementary School and Clear Springs High School, both rated A.

Something to try: Tour the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center and treat yourself to a virtual reality spacewalk.

Memorial

Memorial, just west of downtown, is one of the most highly rated neighborhoods in Houston for chart-topping rankings in everything from housing to nightlife to public schools. It’s such a great neighborhood that niche.com named Memorial the #1 ‘Best Neighborhoods to Live in Houston.’

The neighborhood takes its name from Memorial Drive, one of the main thoroughfares that divides the area. Other main streets that define the Memorial borders are Buffalo Bayou on the south, Barker Reservoir on the west, I-10 on the north, and Bunker Hill Village on the east.

The affluent neighborhood, where 63% of residents own their homes, has a wide variety of architectural styles, blending Victorian, modern, and mid-century aesthetics to create a unique look all its own. Homes vary from large established two-story traditionals set among gorgeous mature trees, to mid-century modern, and attached townhomes. The median household income is $123,896, and 69% of residents hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s, or higher.

  • Population: 53,895
  • Median home value: $500,923
  • Median rent price: $1,311

The neighborhood has a bustling urban feel, brimming with bars, restaurants, and entertainment options. Memorial is a great choice for young people looking to experience city life, as well as families looking for an excellent environment for their kids. Residents tend to be liberal in their political views.

Memorial is close to a variety of offices and corporations, making it an appealing option for those looking for a short commute. Major retailers are Memorial City, Town and Country Village, and CityCentre. Energy-related corporations sit along the Energy Corridor, the large business district. While it’s close to downtown, Memorial also boasts a variety of parks and trails for hiking, running, and bicycling, so those looking to balance the big city with the outdoors won’t be disappointed.

The top schools, all rated A+ by niche.com include Hazel S Pattison Elementary School, Memorial Parkway Junior High School, Garland McMeans Junior High School, Stratford High School, and Katy Taylor High School.

Something to try: Enjoy some fine dining and a little retail therapy at pedestrian-friendly CityCentre, the 37-acre mixed-use area.

Midtown

Midtown is a central urban neighborhood west-southwest of downtown Houston where 73% of residents rent their homes. Bordered by Pierce St on the east, I-69 on the southeast and south, Burlington St on the west, and Bailey and Webster Streets on the north, Midtown covers 1.24 square miles. Houston Community College campus fills the south-central area of Midtown.

Established in the late 1800s as a Victorian-style residential neighborhood, today you’ll see home types that range between contemporary condos, two-story apartment buildings, one story ranch-styles, attached townhomes, and of course – charming restored Victorians. After languishing in the latter half of the twentieth century, the neighborhood has seen rapid expansion throughout the last two decades and is a popular spot for artists, creatives, and young professionals.

  • Population: 13,660
  • Median home value: $260,383
  • Median rent price: $1,302

Midtown has a vibrant nightlife, is centrally located close to the heart of Houston with restaurants, bars, entertainment, and transportation all within walking distance. Lovely old-established parks are found throughout Midtown including Midtown Park, Elizabeth Baldwin Park, Bagby Park, Camden Midtown Park, and McGowen Green.

This mixed-use neighborhood is ethnically diverse, with 45% White, 28% Hispanic 18% African American, 6% Asian, with the remaining percentage being mixed races. Although on the smaller side, Midtown is still growing and it packs a lot into its bustling streets. For those working within the city, Midtown offers up a short, pleasant commute. The neighborhood is a great choice for those looking for a big city atmosphere in an affordable, up-and-coming downtown neighborhood that will continue to grow and expand.

Houston Independent School District serves Midtown. Students attend MacGregor Elementary School, Lamar High School, Reagan High School, and Houston Academy for International Studies.

Something to try: Check out DiverseWorks for current exhibits and plays.

Montrose

Montrose is a historic residential Houston neighborhood just west of downtown that’s full of hipster character and charm. Sometimes referred to as “The Heart of Houston,” “The Strangest Neighborhood East of the Pecos” and “Neartown,” Montrose is known for its countercultural roots, an artsy environment, and LGBT-friendly history. Bordered on the north by Allen Parkway, S Shepherd Dr on the west, I-69 on the south, and Taft to Fairview to Bagby to Hwy 59 on the east, Montrose covers 7.5 square miles.

Home styles range between restored mansions, wide-porched bungalows, cottages, and trendy brightly painted townhouses lining the leafy streets. Close to the Museum District, Montrose has an eclectic selection of shops, restaurants, and bars. Whether you’re looking to browse art galleries, explore chic cafes, or take in the architecture and atmosphere, Montrose has a little bit of everything.

  • Population: 33,629
  • Median home value: $425,746
  • Median rent price: $1,306

The neighborhood is notable for its history as a conclave of artists, pioneers, and LGBT groups, and is home to several historic gay bars. While Montrose has become more developed over the past decade, it still retains its unique artistic atmosphere, making it a great choice for creatives, students, young people, and those looking to experience a more laid-back and accepting atmosphere. Some notable landmarks are the Rothko Chapel; the Chapel of St. Basil; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Menil Collection.

Houston Independent School District serves the majority of Montrose students who attend MacGregor Elementary School, Poe Elementary School, Wharton Dual Language Academy, Wilson Montessori School, Lanier Middle School. Gregory-Lincoln Education Center and Lamar High school. Montrose is also home to the University of Saint Thomas and is close to other universities such as Rice University and the University of Houston.

Something to try: Visit the non-denominational Rothko Chapel, a definitive work of modern art that displays spectacular Mark Rothko paintings.

Spring Branch

Spring Branch is an up-and-coming Houston neighborhood with a diverse history and huge potential. Located primarily within the city of Houston, the neighborhood is about 14 miles west of downtown, bordered by Tanner Rd and Hempstead Rd on the north, Beltway 8 on the west, I-10 on the south, and the 610 Loop on the east. Spring Branch has more of a suburban feel and has good public schools and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Established by German immigrants in the 1800s, today the neighborhood also includes large Korean- American and Hispanic immigrant populations. Spring Branch is a true melting pot, full of ethnic restaurants, thrift stores, hip dive bars, and little local spots that reflect the diversity of culture and history still alive in the neighborhood.

Homes types include 1950s-60s ranch-style homes, 2-story contemporaries, wood-sided bungalows, and apartment complexes. Although the median home value is $291,700, according to Zillow, the median list price is $352,000. Home values have dropped -0.3% in 2018 and are forecast to fall -1.7% in 2019-2020. The neighborhood, while still affordable, continues to expand and develop, and is a great pick for first-time homebuyers and those looking to start a family.

  • Population: 36,000
  • Median home value: $291,700
  • Median rent price: $1,800

Parks include Agnes Moffit Park, with a golf course and swimming pool, the RL and Cora Johnson Park, and community center with a bike trail, playground, basketball pavilion, and lighted tennis courts. Freed Park and Community Center has an indoor gym, a hike and bike trail, playground, and a lighted sports field. Nob Hill Park features a walking trail, playground, and softball field. Also, about seven pocket parks that range from 1/4 to 1 acre dot the neighborhood.

Spring Branch Independent School District serves students, but a small area is within the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Students attend Bane Elementary, Lee Elementary School, Kirk Elementary School, Landrum Middle School, Northbrook Middle School, Spring Oaks Middle School, Spring Woods Middle School, Spring Woods High School, and Northbrook High School. Some students are zoned to other school districts, depending on where in Spring Branch they live.

Something to try: Upscale bowling? Y’all come on down to Bowlmore Houston for a fun evening of bowling and signature cocktails to go with your Pizza Cupcakes.

West University Place

Nicknamed “The Neighborhood City,” or “West U,” West University Place is a charming historic neighborhood located southwest of downtown that’s considered a bedroom community for upper-class families. North of Southside Place and W. Holcombe Blvd, west of Kirby Drive, South of Bissonnet St, and east of Community Drive, West University Place is roughly 13 blocks by 13 blocks and has an intimate feel. This community is a popular neighborhood perfect for those looking to balance the needs of a family along with a manageable commute into downtown.

You’ll find established homes set among lovely landscaping along tree-lined streets. Homes range in style from vintage two-story Italianate, contemporary stone-faced two-stories, brick-sided ranch-styles, large stucco and stone two-story Tudors, minimalist moderns, to lovely traditional colonials. Although this neighborhood has an urban vibe, it’s a quintessential well-established affluent family neighborhood where 89% of residents own their homes.  The median household income is $243,226, and 87% of residents hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s, or higher degree.

  • Population: 15,477
  • Median home value: $987,400
  • Median rent price: $2,062

Green spaces and parks are plentiful, and many were restored between 1990 and 2000.  Most have picnic tables, playgrounds, and walking paths, while some have tennis courts, pools, and rec centers. The neighborhood parks include Judson Park, Wier Park, Colonial Park, Friends Park, and Whitt Johnson Park.

When West University Place was first developed in the 1920s, the developers tasked an English major from nearby Rice University with naming the neighborhood’s streets. As a result, he named most streets after poets, writers, and prestigious schools such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dryden, Oxford, and Cambridge.

Top schools serving the neighborhood are Carnegie Vanguard High School, Michael E DeBakey High School, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Challenge Early College High School and Eastwood Academy, all rated A- or above.

Something to try: Stroll Rice Village to window-shop the unique boutiques. The Village, as it’s known to locals, has been a desirable shopping location since the 1930s. Then stop in at Mi Luna for tapas.

How to Move to Houston

No matter how prepared you are, moving is always a hassle. But with a solid plan set in place, you can make sure that your move is as painless as possible. Whether you’re moving to Houston from across town or the country, this guide will help you dot your I’s, cross your t’s, and ensure that everything goes smoothly throughout the process.

Write Down a Plan

The first step in tackling a big move is to write down all that you hope to accomplish. Moves can seem overwhelming when viewed as a big project, but they’re much more manageable when broken down step by step. Create a list of all the things you need to pull off for your move, along with relevant deadlines, information, and points of contact. Whenever you’re feeling stressed by such a big undertaking, you can refer to your plan to get a sense of what step should come next.

Decide on a Mover

Whether you’re opting to rent a truck and do it yourself, are hiring a full-service moving company, or somewhere in between, it’s important to decide what option best suits your needs, then book them well in advance. That way, your moving projects will stay on schedule, and you can make sure that you’ll have professional help when you need it.

Insurance

Another vital initial step you should take when planning a move is figuring out insurance coverage. There’s nothing worse than having your belongings accidentally damaged or lost and not having any way to replace them. While reputable moving companies usually come with insurance on their end, this doesn’t always cover certain possessions, so it’s important to make sure that everything is insured in case of an accident.

Pack, Pack, Pack

Packing can feel like the most daunting part of the moving process, especially when you’ve lived somewhere for a while. Make sure to invest in quality packing supplies, and don’t skimp on heavy-duty boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap. Putting in the effort now will ensure that your belongings make the move safely and that the unpacking process goes off without a hitch. Pay special attention to fragile items, or items that you know might shift during transit. The more things you can fit into boxes, the more secure everything will be during the move.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have, consider using the move as an opportunity to pare down and streamline your possessions. Organize a yard sale, give prized possessions away to friends and relatives, or take a carload of gently used items to your local thrift store – whatever it takes. If you’re moving from somewhere with much different weather than Houston, consider tossing your snow boots, skis, and other wintry belongings. Minimizing your possessions will also make for a much easier time unpacking, settling into your new place, and filling it with things that make you happy.

While you pack, make sure to set aside a special bag for things you’ll take with you during the move. This essentials box includes several changes of clothes, important items like phones, chargers, and laptops, prescriptions, and anything else you might need handy during the chaos of the move. Consider also setting aside a few items that will make the first few nights in your new place comfortable, like clean sheets and pillows, paper plates and plastic silverware, and basic shower and personal grooming supplies.

Give Notice

Most landlords require at least 30 days’ notice before you move, so make sure to give it to them. You should also give employers, employees, friends, and anyone else involved in your life as much notice as possible before you leave. As you prepare to move to your new home, it’s important to make sure that all your documents reflect your new address. Change your address with the US Postal Service, and update it for any important bills or subscription services.

Clean Up

Whether you’re renting, subletting, or planning to sell your house, it’s always a good idea to leave it in tip-top shape. If you’re renting, this will help make sure that you get back your full security deposit, and if you own the property, it will make the place look more appealing to potential buyers or renters.

Too tired from packing and moving to clean? Sometimes it’s a better option to hire someone to do the job for you. Be sure to check out affordable cleaning services in your area, and see if there are any that will spend a few hours making sure your home is left sparkling clean.

Leap

Once everything’s packed up and squared away, all that’s left to do is make the move itself. If you’re planning on driving to Houston from far away, make sure that your car is in good shape, complete with an oil change and full tank of gas. If you plan on flying, book your tickets well in advance to get the best flight deals and most flexible options.

Set aside all your essential possessions, like a change of clothes and toothbrush to take with you on the day of, as well as any other important items like phones and chargers. It’s always a good idea to eat a full breakfast, and pack some snacks for along the way so you can maintain your energy. Most importantly, remember that you’re in the home stretch.

Unpack and Settle In

Once everything has arrived at your new home, all that’s left to do is unpack and set up your place how you like it. While it might be tempting to leave boxes full of stuff languishing in the closet for months, it’s much better to set aside a few days to square everything away and unpack properly. That way, you can embark upon your new adventure with a clean home and a fresh start. Once you’ve unpacked everything to your satisfaction, you can begin to arrange and decorate to truly personalize your new home. And be sure to get out and enjoy everything that Houston has to offer!

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Whether you’re just moving across town or are moving from hundreds of miles away, Houston is full of qualified professionals for any moving service you need. Get started now with free quotes from Great Guys Long Distance Movers!

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