Moving anywhere new can be an exciting event, especially if you are moving to Houston. But trying to find a lovely home, in a great neighborhood, can also be a bit daunting (especially if you’re relocating from another city or state).  Houston is a sprawling, diverse city with endless neighborhood and housing options. Choosing a suitable property to buy or to rent can be very unnerving indeed, but these useful tips will give you a good start in your home-search quest.

Set Your Priorities

When looking for a new house or apartment make a list of all the important features you want in a home (a spacious yard, an open floor plan, three bedrooms, etc.). Rank these features in terms of priorities and make sure the home you choose meets all the points in the upper part of your requirements list. Think about whether it is the house itself or the neighborhood that matters more to you. For some people, living in a particular neighborhood takes precedence over everything else. For others, the house itself (comfortable, affordable, in good condition, etc.) is more significant than its location or the surrounding community. You need to determine what is more important to you and decide on the compromises you’re ready to make.

Research Housing Options

Two of the most important factors to consider when searching for your ideal home are type of dwelling and location, location, location!

Type of dwelling – Decide on the type of residence that best suits your lifestyle, needs and preferences. Does a five bedroom, contemporary-style home suit your fancy or is a cozy bungalow more your cup of tea?  If buying your home, consider both old and new homes.  While it’s always nice to move into a newly-built place, you may find some upgrades (such as a backyard deck or a swimming pool, for example) installed by previous owners of older homes to be very beneficial.  Assess the home’s renovation potential – decide if your desired renovations will be worth the time and expenses required for the project, how much value they will add to the home, and if you can live without them.

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Location – Your future home should be strategically located within easy reach to certain key places in the city you’ll be visiting on a regular basis (ex. work, school, health care centers, entertainment).  Try to familiarize yourself with the road infrastructure in the area, traffic peculiarities, parking issues, and available means of public transportation to be able to assess the accessibility of your new home.

Research the social, demographic and ethnic characteristics of your neighborhood of interest to ensure that the living standards compliment your lifestyle and the surrounding area is safe.  Depending on your preferences, Houston has hundreds of neighborhoods to choose from.  Listed are just a few areas that are popular communities within the following categories:

  • True Value–   Some of Houston’s oldest, historic neighborhoods that retain their value, decade after decade.
    • Houston Heights
    • Montrose
    • Memorial
    • Meyerland
  • Town and Country – Modern, master-planned neighborhoods located outside of the inner loop, offering the best of both worlds with large, spacious homes surrounded by urban amenities and great local schools.
    • Cinco Ranch
    • Sugar Land
    • Bridgeland
    • The Woodlands
  • Downtown Dwellings – Vibrant communities, conveniently close to the heart of the city, where city dwellers, business professionals and fashionistas reside.
    • Uptown
    • East Downtown (EaDo)
    • Fourth Ward
    • Washington Corridor
  • Luxury Living –  Luxurious homes with starting prices ranging from upper six figures to millions of dollars; some of the most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods in Houston.
    • River Oaks
    • Tanglewood
    • Memorial Park
    • West University
  • Urban Revival – Resurrected, diverse and eclectic neighborhoods lined with historic homes, beautiful bungalows, and trendy townhomes.
    • Third Ward
    • Independence Heights
    • Lindale Park
    • Westview Terrace

Map It Out

After you find an area that interests you, remember to look up Houston a flood zone map, which is a crucial step during your house hunt, since some areas are prone to flooding during heavy rains – it’s called the Bayou City for a reason!  These maps can be accessed through county websites and may include flood prediction modeling.  If you do choose to buy a home in a flood zone, you will need to buy flood insurance.

Houston weather can result in power outages, flooding, and a variety of other conditions that might cause inconveniences, or even danger. That’s why it’s important to be educated with the best possible tips, tools, and information on weather readiness so that your family and home are kept safe. Be prepared for bad weather before it strikes and equip your home with the resources that make sense for your area.

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