Moving somewhere new can be an exciting event, especially if you are moving to a city as vibrant as 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 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 the top points on 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 willing to make.

Research Housing Options

Two of the key 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 fits 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 construction.  While it’s always nice to move into a newly-built place, you may find some upgrades (a backyard deck or a swimming pool, for example) installed by previous owners of older homes to be very appealing.  Assess the home’s renovation potential and decide if your desired renovations will be worth the time and expense required for the project. How much value they will add to the home? Can live without them?

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Location – Your future home should be strategically located within easy reach of key places you’ll be visiting on a regular basis (work, school, health care centers, entertainment).  Familiarizing yourself with the road system in the area, traffic peculiarities, parking issues and available public transportation will help you assess the accessibility of your new home.

Research the social, demographic and ethnic characteristics of the neighborhoods that interest you to ensure that the living standards suit your lifestyle and that the surrounding area is safe.  Houston has hundreds of neighborhoods to choose from, so you’re sure to find options to suit your preferences.  Listed are just a 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 a Houston flood zone map. This is a crucial step in 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 educate yourself with the best possible tips, tools and information on weather readiness to keep your family and home safe. Be prepared for bad weather before it strikes and equip your home with the resources that make sense for your area.

Once you find your dream home, choose Direct Energy for your electricity needs. They offer multiple plans to fit your lifestyle like free electricity on the weekends and Direct Your Plan, allowing you to create a customized plan just for you. They also provide unparalleled usage insights to help you better understand your bill and use less energy.

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The Relocation Guide

Powered by Direct Energy, the Relocation Guide provides helpful tips, resources, and information for your move to Houston or Dallas. Both cities are home to unique opportunities and cultures, so we’ve collected and curated recommendations to ensure a stress-free relocation. Read more here.