Relocation Guide: Moving to Houston 

You’ve dotted the Is, crossed the Ts, signed on the dotted line, and now you’re on your way to Houston. A lively metropolis known for its cultural diversity, delectable cuisine, expansive housing options and affordable cost of living, Houston has much to offer. It’s time to plan your next steps as you get ready to make this city your new home. 

Whether you’ve been preparing for this moment for months or even years, or you’re simply craving a spontaneous change of scenery while you work from home, your decision to relocate is just the first step of the journey. This guide has you covered. We’ll give you the basics to prepare you for your move to Houston. 

Preparing for Your Move 

You’re probably feeling a mix of emotions. It’s normal to experience the push and pull of excitement as you make this major life change. It’s normal to be nervous about all the things you need to do before your move. However, rest assured that you do not have to go through this process alone. 

There are many moving pieces involved in relocating to Houston. A temporary housing partner like Synergy who helps with relocations to the area can assist you throughout this process. As you prepare for your move, you can ease your transition by doing the necessary research and working with seasoned professionals who have knowledge of your destination. 

Are you traveling solo? Do you need to account for your partner, children, or family members? Are you relocating internationally or domestically? Do you have any animal travel companions? Are you shipping your belongings, hiring movers, or both? Have you set up a forwarding address? With much to take into consideration prior to your move, it’s vital to do your due diligence so that your experience is as stress-free as possible. 

Moving Within the USA 

Think about options for moving the household items you need to bring with you. You may have just a few things you want to take, for instance, if you’re maintaining your home elsewhere. In which case, think about small shipment providers, like PODs pr ShipSmart, who deliver packing materials right to your door so you can pack and then have your items delivered when you’re ready. If you have more, or don’t want to pack yourself, there are a host of providers who can do this for you . 

Moving van with boxes

When moving within the USA, consider whether you’ll drive or fly to your new home in Houston. Driving allows you to transport more personal items and valuables yourself, providing peace of mind. Plan your route and accommodations ahead of time using tools like Roadtrippers, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition before the trip. Calculate the cost of gas, food and lodging, utilizing apps like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas prices along your route. 

If you decide to fly, you’ll need to arrange for your belongings to be shipped. Reputable moving companies or shipment providers like U-Haul and U-Box can also assist with this. Book your flights in advance to get the best rates and arrange transportation from the airport to your new home. While flying might be faster, it can be more expensive when factoring in airfare, pet travel fees and the cost of shipping belongings. 

If your new home isn’t ready upon arrival, arrange temporary housing through providers like Synergy or Airbnb. Set up a forwarding address with USPS to ensure you don’t miss any important mail and arrange to have utilities turned on in your new home before you arrive  (electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable services). 

Moving from Abroad 

If you’re moving from overseas, make sure you work with a reputable provider to ship your things. Ensure you give them as much information as possible and ask for recommendations and time estimates for your shipment. Note that the Port of Houston has a number of restrictions on vessel sizes due to tides and weather is also an issue which can cause delays. 

Relocating to Houston from abroad involves several extra steps. You’ll want to work with a reputable international moving company and provide them with detailed information about your shipment to receive accurate recommendations and time estimates. 

Suitcases being loaded on to an airplane

When preparing for your move, you should research visa requirements and entry requirements not only for yourself, but also for your partner or anyone else in your travel party. Each departure/destination combination mandates different documentation and prerequisites that could have a potential impact on your plans. 

Familiarize yourself with the US healthcare system and consider obtaining medical insurance that covers your initial period in the country until you can get local coverage. And, try to set up a bank account in the US before you move if possible, or as soon as you arrive. Research banks that offer services for expats and make arrangements ahead of time. You’ll want to be prepared for cultural differences and potential language barriers. Look for local expat communities or resources to help you acclimate to your new surroundings. 

Taking the Family 

Moving a family requires careful planning to ensure a smooth transition. Research the diverse neighborhoods in Houston that offer a range of options. Use resources like GreatSchools and Neighborhood Scout to gather insights on local amenities, safety statistics, schools and healthcare facilities. Check enrollment deadlines and requirements early, and consider both public and private schools based on your family’s needs and preferences. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to enroll your children for the next academic season. Houston has a wonderful school system with over 274 schools in the district, but they also have waitlists. Identify local healthcare providers, pediatricians and hospitals. Ensure your current medical records are transferred and that you have health insurance coverage in place. Explore family-friendly activities and parks in Houston, such as the Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum of Houston and Hermann Park to help your family settle in and enjoy their new environment. 

A family moving into a new home

Traveling Solo 

If you’re moving solo, research neighborhoods that cater to single professionals. Areas like Midtown, Montrose and Downtown offer vibrant social scenes and convenient access to work and entertainment. Join local clubs, organizations or online groups to meet new people and build a social network. Apps like Meetup can help you find local events and activities, making it easier to integrate into the community. Prioritize safety when choosing your new home by looking into crime rates and security measures in potential neighborhoods. 

Traveling with Pets 

Moving with pets requires special attention. Ensure your new home is pet-friendly, as some landlords have restrictions on pet size and breed. Websites like Zillow and Apartments.com allow you to filter search results by pet-friendly properties. Houston has a humid subtropical climate that can affect your pet’s health, so ensure they are protected against fleas, ticks and other pests. Regular vet visits are essential, so research local veterinarians and pet clinics. The city requires pets  to be registered, so check the Houston Animal Control and Regulation website for specific requirements and processes. Look for pet services such as grooming, boarding and dog parks. Houston has several parks and trails where you can take your pets for exercise and socialization to keep you and them busy! 

Finding the Right Home 

Finding the right home in Houston involves considering various factors. Houston’s cost of living is surprisingly affordable and generally lower than cities like New York or San Francisco. Keep in mind that property and sales taxes can be high though. The Loop (Interstate Highway 610) encompasses urban neighborhoods such as Downtown Houston, Montrose and Midtown, which are bustling with workplaces, entertainment venues and apartment complexes. Suburban areas like The Woodlands, Katy and Sugar Land offer larger homes and family-friendly environments, tending to be quieter but still providing easy access to the city’s main attractions. 

Homes in Houston

As in other cities, the safety of Houston’s neighborhoods is varied. Kingwood ranks highly in security, boasting an A+ rating for crime and safety, similar to Bellaire, a suburban community southwest of Downtown and West University Place. Safety statistics vary over time, so do your research when you’re ready. Resources like Neighborhood Scout can be helpful as a starting point. If you're unsure about committing to a long-term lease or purchase, consider temporary housing. Providers like Synergy offer fully furnished apartments with amenities such as Wi-Fi, dishware, and linens. This allows you to explore the city and decide where you want to live long-term. 

The Perfect Temporary Accommodation 

You may have visited the city of Houston before, or this might be your first time exploring this exciting hub. Regardless of whether you are moving to Houston for the long-term or short-term, finding the right housing for your needs is likely one of the most difficult parts of relocation. And this step becomes even harder when you’re not there in person to tour apartments or houses before you sign a lease. 

Temporary housing offers the perfect solution for your stay and allows you to get a feel for the city and specific neighborhoods you may be considering before getting locked into a long-term lease or ownership. Most temporary apartments come fully stocked with dishware and fresh linens and offer Wi-Fi for the perfect work-from-home setup. Serviced apartment providers like Synergy work to match you with ideal accommodations based on your requirements. During your stay, you’ll have 24/7 support from guest service agents who can provide insight and in-depth knowledge about Houston so that you can get acclimated and settle in. 

Settling Into Your New Home 

One unavoidable step of relocation and extended stays is having to deal with the administrative tasks that come with your change of address. 

A couple moving into their new home

If you’re moving from another state, you’ll need to get a Texas driver’s license. Use the interactive REAL ID Document Check Application to determine what documents you need and visit a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) office to complete the process. Register your vehicle in Texas within 30 days of moving; you'll need proof of insurance, a current vehicle inspection, and the title or registration from your previous state. Register to vote in Texas by checking eligibility requirements and deadlines on the Texas Secretary of State’s website.  

Ensure you have medical insurance that covers you in Texas, and research local providers or options through the Health Insurance Marketplace if you don’t have employer-provided insurance. Set up a local bank account if you haven't already, and contact utility companies to arrange for electricity, water, gas, internet and cable services. Texas does not have a state income tax, but you'll still need to pay federal taxes. Research property and sales taxes, which can be high, to budget accordingly. 

Your New Life in Houston Awaits 

Moving to a new city is a significant life change, filled with both excitement and challenges. As you prepare for your move to Houston, this guide aims to provide you with the essential information and resources to make your transition as smooth as possible. From planning your relocation logistics, whether domestically or internationally, to considering the needs of your family or pets, there are many aspects to take into account. 

Houston city skyline

Houston’s vibrant neighborhoods, diverse culture, and affordable living offer a welcoming environment for newcomers. By researching your options for housing, schools, healthcare, and social opportunities, you can ensure a comfortable and enriching experience in your new home. Temporary housing solutions like those offered by Synergy can provide a convenient starting point as you explore the city and find your perfect long-term residence. 

Finally, don’t forget the important administrative tasks that come with relocating. Ensuring that you have your documentation, insurance, and utilities in order will help you settle in smoothly. Houston is a city that celebrates diversity and offers countless opportunities for growth and enjoyment. Embrace this new chapter with confidence, knowing that you have the resources and knowledge to make the most of your move. 

Welcome to Houston – your new adventure awaits! 

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