One of the biggest decisions we make in our lives is deciding where to live. There is the constant struggle to balance personal desires with employment opportunities; to maximize salary while simultaneously maximizing our own happiness. Like any big decision, the answer really comes down to finding the best mix.
One global trend is clear above all the rest, Texas is the place where everyone wants to be. Texas is growing exponentially at about 1,000 people per day as reported by State Demographer Lloyd Potter.
Half those new Texas are newborns, and the other half are migrants, who, like our readers, had to make the tough decision of figuring out where in the Lone Star State they can call their new home. U.S. Census data shows that Texas’s population grew by 187,545 people between July 2017 and July 2018 (even after accounting for people leaving the state.
Considering a move to Texas? We’ll cover everything you need to know to set expectations and have a smooth transition.
1. The Drive to Texas Is Full of Sights
With such a diverse array of ecosystems and camping experiences to choose from when moving to Texas, it is all about finding the right fit for you! This same adage also applies to finding your dream home in Texas, so it is important to find out what cities and housing situations fit best before making the move with BHGRE HomeCity.
California to Texas
If you’re driving from California to Texas for your move, there are tons of sights to see along the way! Have some fun and gamble in Las Vegas. Camping-wise, there are plenty of options:
* Big Sur
* Guadalupe Mountains NP (highest peak in Texas!)
New York to Texas
If you are driving from New York, make sure to pass through Shenandoah NP in Virginia along the locally famous Skyline Drive, a 105-mile drive that runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and serves as the only public road within the park. In addition, you could visit Great Smoky Mountains NP, Nashville (live music!), or Hot Springs NP in Arkansas.
Florida to Texas
If you are driving from Southern Florida, catch a glimpse of Everglades National Park before you leave! This swap-land park gives you opportunities to catch a glimpse of giant alligators and elegant egrets as you travel by boat or foot through these mangrove and cypress tree-lined waterways.
If you’re looking for a more urban swamp adventure, look no further than New Orleans. As you pass through this French-influenced Southern gem on your way to Texas, make sure you check out the French Quarter and Bourbon Street for some refreshing cocktails, especially if you happen to be moving during Mardi Gras season.
2. You Can Stock Up on Snacks at Buc-ee’s
Buc-ee’s is the largest convenience store in the world, and the chain is the crown jewel of Texan road trips. They have everything from 120 gas pumps, kolaches, tacos, sandwiches, and the cleanest public bathrooms you’ll ever see (83 stalls per location on average).
Make sure you cover all the bases: sweet, sour, savory, salty, and bitter. There are 35 Buc-ee's locations across Texas alongside major interstate highways, so feel free to eat as much as you want along the way. There will always be an opportunity to resupply at Buc-ee's in the Lone Star State.
3. Be Sure to Pack Sunscreen
If you plan on hiking and checking out some of our suggested sights along the way to your new home, be sure to pack some powerful sunscreen so you can prevent the inevitable pain and peeling that follows nasty sunburns.
Texas is known for its abundance of sunny days, and out west, the sun can be downright brutal. In fact, El Paso was named one of the sunniest cities in the world where the sun shines all year long! While you can certainly still get burnt on a cloudy day, the sun’s blazing heat is not to be underestimated.
4. Gear Up to Drink All the Margaritas
Fun fact: the first frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas, Texas. This monumental moment in U.S. history set Texas on the path to becoming Margaritaville U.S.A. here in the present day. Inventor Mariano Martinez adapted his frozen margarita machine design from the 7-11 Slurpee machines (7-11 was also founded in Dallas, Texas), and then modified a soft-serve ice cream machine into what we now fondly refer to as Margaritaville.
5. Keep the Mosquito Repellent Ready
If you are moving during the Spring or Summer, be sure to pack mosquito repellent. These pesky critters are everywhere during the warm seasons, and won’t hesitate to swarm you if you forget to prepare for them.
There are more than 80 different types of mosquitoes in Texas, and many of them are quite large. Everything really is bigger in Texas, including the mosquitoes!
6. Bring Your Fishing Rod
Unless you live in Houston, Galveston, or Corpus Christi, Texas is a lake-faring state during the summer months as everyone clamors to escape the heat. Where there are lakes, there is good Texas fishing. Bring your tackle box and best fishing rod with you when you move here because the fish never stop biting.
7. Air Conditioning Is a MUST
Summers in Texas are HOT, like 100+ degrees hot. The average summer highs are in the scorching 86°F (30°C) to 98°F (36.7°C) zone, while the average low temperatures are between a balmy 67°F (19.4°C) to 76°F (24.4°C). Summer is hot and humid in eastern Texas, while western Texas is hotter and drier than in the east.
So be sure the A/C in your car and home are working properly, and remember to never leave a pet or child inside an unattended vehicle.
8. You’ll Have Room for More Furniture
In Texas, land and square footage is cheaper, so you’ll need to buy some new furniture to fill your substantially larger new house. Texas’ median listing price per square foot is $129 as compared to $205 in New York and $547 in Washington D.C. With all that saved money, you should have a little extra to decorate your home.
9. Download Albums, Podcasts, and Audiobooks To Your Phone
While service in smaller states may never cut out, there are large swathes of rural Texas (especially in West Texas) where there is no service at all. So, when moving through these parts, you can guarantee that you will lose service at some point.
Some may enjoy silence and the sound of the road, however when there is no internet connection for an extended period of time, you’ll be happy to have a collection of downloaded listening material to keep you entertained.
Wondering if you can expect blackout zones in the city you’re moving to? Check out this handy coverage map.
10. You Can Visit a Texan Historical Landmark
Reading a book about Texas history can give you context and a sense of understanding about your new home, but nothing can quite match the experience of interacting with history in person.
We highly recommend reading ‘Empire of the Summer Moon’ by S.C. Gwynne or “Memory-place, Meaning, and the Alamo” by Richard R. Flores before you visit Texan historical landmarks such as Roosevelt Park, the Alamo, or the UNESCO World Heritage site Spanish missions in San Antonio.
11. Make Sure to Bring a Vehicle
In Texas, with so much land to cover, personal vehicles are nearly a necessity. Unlike the more densely populated areas like New York and LA, you’ll be left high and dry without a vehicle.
Don’t fret if you need to buy one, with all the savings you receive from lower taxes and lower housing prices, you’ll have more than enough saved up to dish out on a sweet new ride.
12. Fine-Tune Your Resume
With one of the fastest-growing and robust job markets in the nation, finding the right job for you is a breeze in the Lone Star State. Texas’s robust $1.9 trillion dollar economy is the second-largest in the country, trailing only California. As of March 2019, Texas’s unemployment rate sat around 3.5%, well below the 4% national average.
Industry-wise, healthcare is the fastest-growing sector in the job market, and nurses are expected to see job growth of 25% over the next four years. In order to find the best opportunities in Texas, location is essential. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro region has seen the most growth and job market prosperity over the past decade in Texas, and the region includes cities such as Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Denton, Arlington, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
13. You’ll Want to Buy Some Boots
Texan wildlife is full of fascinating and stunning species. However, one species, in particular, is important to keep an eye out for, the Western diamondback rattlesnake.
If you plan on walking out into tall grass due to the state of your new property or a desire to explore Texas wildlife, listen for this snake’s distinctive rattle sound that they make when threatened. A solid pair of snake boots will protect you from an unnecessary visit to the ER and is a staple of every nature-loving Texan’s wardrobe.
14. Prepare to Enjoy Lower Taxes
In Texas, there are plenty of opportunities to live out your Old Western dreams, and you never know when you could come across an outlaw’s buried treasure. Unlike other highly taxed states such as New York and California, Texas is one of only seven states that forbids personal income taxes. This means you can keep the bulk of your newfound fortune.
There is no corporate tax as well which makes Texas a business-friendly environment for all entrepreneurs, large or small (you know, just in case the whole ‘buried treasure scheme’ doesn’t work out).
15. Prepare to Enjoy Nature
Due to the wide availability of cheap land, Texas’s urban centers have had the privilege to expand outwards rather than upwards. As more and more issues continue to arise from America’s hyperdense vertical cities such as New York and San Francisco, Texan urban centers have largely avoided these issues due to our unique horizontal growth patterns and our genuine connection/symbiosis with the land and our surrounding rural areas.
As a result, Texas has one of the best public and state park systems in the country, which more than makes up for its dearth of National Parks. While Texas only hosts two National Parks (Big Bend NP and Guadalupe Mountains NP), Texas is home to over 80 state parks, the most popular of which is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Pro Tip: some parks fill up reservations for the most popular campsites a year in advance, so follow the links to make your reservations now!
Important Things to Consider
With small-business friendly laws, no state tax, more space for lower prices, and a culture of Southern charm, Texas provides the perfect blend of urban & rural life it’s perfect for anyone searching for opportunity & prosperity.
The Housing Market
There isn’t a better housing market in the United States than the red-hot market in Texas. Here, everything is bigger, including the houses. One reason for this is because residents get maximum square-footage for their dollar:
* Texas’ median listing price per square foot: $129
* Florida’s median listing price per square foot: $167
* New York’s median listing price per square foot: $205
* California’s median listing price per square foot: $324
* Washington D.C.’s median listing price per square foot: $547
The Texas Constitution forbids personal income taxes. There is no corporate tax as well which makes Texas a business-friendly environment for all entrepreneurs, large or small.
Texas’ tax situation makes it an attractive location to those who live in heavily taxed states such as New York and California. One aspect that slightly offsets the lack of personal income taxes are property taxes, which will be slightly higher than other states.
However, according to Time Magazine, Texas collects about $3,500 per resident; California collects $4,900, and New York rakes in an astounding $7,400 per resident in taxes.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Texas is relatively cheap and makes life easier for everyone. Gas is cheap, trips to H-E-B for groceries are affordable, and one of the few things you do need to worry about is paying your car insurance since driving is a necessity. The cost of living in Texas is significantly cheaper than the national average.
Economy and Job Market
Texas has the second-largest economy in the country, the first being California. This robust $1.9 trillion dollar economy is one of the most resilient in the world, entirely energy-independent with oil/natural gas serving as the state’s most valuable export.
Unemployment rates are low, job creation is booming, and salaries are relatively high. Texas boasts the presence (whether it be a headquarters or a corporate office) of industry titans such as SpaceX, Tesla, AT&T, Oracle, Google, Amazon, ExxonMobil, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Dell, Frito-Lays, Pizza Hut, and many more.
Texas finds itself far ahead of the pack in terms of GDP per capita versus the national average, which manifests itself in more prosperous Texan lifestyles.
The summers are very hot and humid in Eastern Texas while they are hotter and drier in West Texas. The extreme temperatures seen during the summer months are reconciled by perpetually mild winters.
Cities in central and southern Texas often go years without ever seeing snow. Texas is definitely for those who prefer warm weather over the cold.
North Texas does occasionally experience tornados due to its location in the southernmost section of tornado alley. Additionally, cities in East Texas face the annual summer threat of hurricane season.
While public transit is either poor or non-existent in most cities other than Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, the excellent network of roadways and interstate highways in Texas more than makes up for this.
Cars in Texas are not only a necessity but a way of life. I-10 and I-35 are the main veins that keep the lifeblood and economy of Texas pumping, and the relatively low price of gas makes such a reality affordable as well.
Schools and Universities
Texas has one of the best public school systems in the country, and the state’s unique blend of elite public and private universities sets the state far above the competition. Notable universities include: University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, Baylor University, and Texas Tech University.
Tips for Relocating
Convinced Texas is the place for you and ready to move? Here are some insider tips on how to tie off the official loose ends once you’ve settled down here.
How to Get Your Texas Driver’s License
Process for Vehicle Registration and Deadlines
When moving to Texas, you have 30 days to secure a Texas-issued vehicle registration.
Schedule a vehicle inspection: Bring your vehicle into a certified DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) inspection station. You can locate the one nearest you at dps.texas.gov. Don’t forget to bring your ID and insurance card.
Insurance: Texas law states you need a minimum of $30,000 coverage per person, totaling $60,000 for all injured parties. You also need $25,000 for property damage coverage. Be sure to update your insurance, and be sure it meets the Texas requirements.
Register: Visit your local county tax-assessor collector’s office. Contact your local DMV and ask if they can help you with registration. Bring your insurance card, your vehicle inspection certificate, and title for your automobile. You’ll be asked to fill out Form 130-U and pay just over $50 to register.
Registering to Vote
Registering to vote can be done at your new local DMV or the local Voter Registrar’s office. Registration is often done when renewing a license, so it would be easiest to register when you go in to receive your new Texas driver’s license. Registration can also be completed online at VoteTexas.com, however, a valid Texas driver’s license is required.
Address Transfer Services
Make sure you contact your utility companies and transfer services when moving to Texas. Transfer services through your company’s online portal or by calling their service departments.
Make sure to transfer over:
* subscription boxes
According to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, The Texas homeownership rate is at its highest level since 1996 when the data collection began. In 2020, Texas’s average days on market (DOM) is up to 64 days, however, hotspots like Austin have not seen a major increase in DOM due to the pandemic and have actually seen a decrease in their DOM to 53 days.
Additionally, home prices and home values have appreciated 4.2% and 4.5% respectively. Texas' months of inventory (MOI) are down to an all-time low of 2.8 months which means that supply is dwindling, so you need to move fast! New homes and houses for sale are selling fast, and although new home construction is expected to rebound post-pandemic, nothing is for certain in 2020.
As for demand, it is currently rebounding in a major way from the pandemic. Due to pent-up demand and record low mortgage rates (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation's 30-year fixed rate dropped below 3.2 % for the first time since 1971), total housing sales were up 29.4% in June 2020.
There’s no better brokerage in the state of Texas than Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate HomeCity. With a powerful, cutting-edge website and the best agents around, BHGRE HomeCity will help find the perfect home for you and your family.
Once you’re all moved in, you’ll want to get to know your surroundings. Services like Nextdoor that connect with your immediate neighborhood are helpful to meet your neighbors and stay up to date on local knowledge and chatter.
There are Facebook groups for a variety of events/activities that exist in every city, whether it’s the Austin Hiking Facebook group or the Dallas fishing Facebook group, there are a variety of ways to connect with your new home by exploring your own interests.
As you can see, Texas is by far the best state to relocate to in the United States. The economy is strong, jobs are being created every day, unemployment is low, and land is relatively cheap. Life here is good so long as you can handle the heat. Ready to get started? Search homes for sale in Texas today!