Energy Ogre’s Guide to Moving to Houston

Whether they are native-born or a transplant from a land far, far away, people who live in Houston stay for a reason. If you’re moving to Houston, you’re in for a treat. Not only is the cost of living more affordable than many U.S. cities, but the job market is expanding rapidly. Houston is also culturally diverse. In fact, there are over 145 languages spoken! The city offers one of the most eclectic food scenes you can find in the Lone Star State. These are just some of the reasons that Energy Ogre chose Houston as it’s headquarters!

Finding a Home

Houston’s housing market is on fire for 2019!  You can thank the few zoning barriers, low cost of living, big job and migration growth, and overall love for the city keeping the population steady. Trying to find the perfect place to call home can be a daunting task, especially if you are moving to Houston from another state or country. We’ve provided a few great resources to help you navigate this tricky process:

  • Houston Neighborhoods Guide – AreaVibes provides a helpful breakdown of the many diverse neighborhoods in Houston and gives them a livability score based on amenities, cost of living, schools, etc.
  • Buying a Home – HAR.com The Houston Association of Realtors has a property search website with an interactive Map Search and filters to easily find available homes for sale or lease in Houston.
  • Renting an ApartmentApartments.com has an easy to use interface with a default map view and a unique tool that allows you to identify exact search borders. They have an extensive list of filters to sort by and icons that summarize each listing’s included amenities. Some listings even include a 3D Tour!
  • StorageSpareFoot makes it easy to search, compare, and reserve all of your storage needs. They also provide helpful moving tips and information about safety and security when using storage facilities.

Utilities

With moving to Houston, comes the joy of making sure you have all of the basic necessities to get your home operating smoothly. Knowing which providers service your area is half the battle. For the sake of making your life easier, we’ve gathered some information below:

  • Water –  For most Houstonians, water service is managed by the City of Houston. If you live in a suburb of Houston or a surrounding area, then your service might be offered by the area’s Municipal Utility District.
  • GasCenterPoint Energy is the gas provider in Houston. You can visit their website or call them at (713) 659-2111 to set up service.
  • Cable/Satellite TV – While most households have opted to cut the cord when it comes to television, embracing the emergence of streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, some still love the plethora of channels and DVR offered through cable/satellite companies. Houston is serviced by Comcast, ATT Uverse/DirecTV, and Dish Network.
  • Internet – There are 20 different internet providers in Houston. You’ll have your pick of options and be able to compare prices easily!
  • Electricity – Texas has a deregulated electricity energy market, meaning you can purchase electricity from any of the hundreds of companies offering competitive pricing in the open market. The problem is that it can get confusing really fast. While the government created the website PowerToChoose.org for consumers to compare electricity prices, the process still has its downsides. If you decide you’d rather not shop on your own, you can sign up for Energy Ogre and let us manage your electricity contracts! We are paid only by our members, so our sole priority is you!

Commuting

Houston is an hour away from Houston…or so it seems. Because Houston is such a large and sprawling city, a car is the most convenient way to get around. Unfortunately, it seems that traffic can pop up anywhere, at any time, and for no particular reason at all. If you live near your place of employment, the traffic won’t affect you as much. If that’s not an option, It’s best to queue up your favorite playlist or podcast and settle in for the drive. While the toll roads can help, often times you’ll find yourself paying to get somewhere just 5 minutes faster. Use these tools to help map out your journey:

  • Color-coded guide of the Houston Freeway System
  • Schedules and Routes for Houston Metro Rail, Bus, Park and Ride
  • Houston Transtar Traffic Map complete with updates on incidents, road closures, and construction
  • Waze is a widely-used app that uses GPS navigation software to warn you of accidents ahead of you.  It steers you away from traffic jams and offers alternative routes. And even better, it allows for users to report their current traffic and road conditions, so you can see what you’re driving into.

Things to Do

Whether you love finding new coffee shops on weekend outings or are always looking for live music from local bands, you need resources. When you are moving to Houston, you’ll be thrilled and relieved to know that there is always something going on, and you’re always invited!  Use these resources to help you find your next activity:

  • Food Maps: Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city. It’s no wonder with thousands of restaurants to choose from. Eater provides several food maps ranging from Where to Dine and Drink in Downtown Houston to 15 Iconic Houston Dishes to Try Before You Die. So, you may want to get a gym membership or have a great workout routine when moving to Houston because it’s way too easy to pack on the pounds.
  • 365 Things to Do in Houston: This site offers tips and ideas for enjoying all of the many events in an around the city. They have weekend guides available to help you plan ahead and also offer discounts on tickets to plays, musicals, and concerts in the area.
  • Trip Advisor:  Not only will Trip Advisor grant you their amazing suggestions for things to do in the city, but you’ll also get great reviews from people that have already done them, plus links to get tickets and more. Moving to Houston just got easier because of sites like these!
  • AroundMe App:  This awesome app is easy to use and extremely helpful for finding just about anything, anywhere!  Search by category (banks, coffee shops, gas stations, hospitals, movie theatres, restaurants, etc.), specific location, type of business or just browse what businesses are around you. It’s a great app to help you get to know your new neighborhood, but also convenient to have for road trips and traveling, as well.

Great Blogs to Follow

Get the inside scoop on the city life from discounts and deals to events and eateries with local blogs. Bloggers live, breathe and work the city, and bring that straight to you with constant updates about what’s happening, when, where and why you should be there. We’ve provided a few to get you started:

Random Facts about Houston

  • Houston is where Beyonce and NASA call home.
  • “The Loop” is interstate 610.  This freeway is frequently mentioned as a landmark – where places are either inside or outside of “The Loop.”
  • There’s an underground tunnel system downtown that covers a whopping 95 city blocks!
  • “Houston” was the first word spoken on the moon, by Neil Armstrong.
  • The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is the largest art museum in the Lone Star State.
  • The Astrodome was the first multi-use domed stadium in the world.
  • Thousands of bats fly out of the Waugh Drive Bridge every summer evening.  It’s quite a sight. (And quite a smell, too.)
  • The annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is a big deal and the largest rodeo in the world.  Get your boots ready!

The Not-So-Fun Things

While any city has cons, most Houstonians agree that the pros far outweigh them. Regardless, it’s best to know these things up front before moving to Houston:

  • Zoning – The city does NOT have zoning laws.  That means if you’re building a home near an empty lot – you can’t be sure of what will or won’t be built there.
  • Weather – Houston’s weather is not complicated, it’s just extreme. An average of 205 days a year are filled with sunshine. Because Houston has four major bayous passing through the city, it’s very, very humid. Therefore, you will want to keep some mosquito spray handy.
  • Traffic –  It’s a good thing Houston offers so many modes of transportation because the traffic in the city can get pretty congested.  It was recently ranked the 2nd most expensive commute for workers in the country. Houstonians spent 3,000 minutes a year in traffic, so knowing your options is crucial when you live in the city. Folks moving to Houston should be aware of the traffic, but relieved by the solutions and resources listed above.

While the weather can be tricky and the traffic oftentimes maddening, there are endless reasons to call Houston home.  People from all over the world have their sights set on a future in the Bayou City. Houstonians are some of the nicest Texans out there and plenty of other transplants can vouch for this. So, whether you’re moving to Houston for work, school, or just better opportunities, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.