Accommodation in Houston
Costs are 21 percent lower than the national average, and 38 percent lower than 27 other metros that also count more than 2 million residents within city limits.
Furthermore, availability is not an issue in Houston. Though demand in the rental market has increased considerably, mainly in light of an economic turndown that’s scared potential property purchasers, there’re more than enough apartments and houses in Houston and its surrounds to ensure that everyone has a roof over their heads.
While it’s possible for expats to both buy and rent property in Houston, it’s recommended that those new to the Bayou City rent housing initially, while they acquaint themselves with the many neighbourhoods and communities on offer.
Each area of Houston has its own unique set of pros and cons, and many are even associated with a specific kind of housing type and style. Proximity to the workplace and, if you have kids, proximity to schools should also be taken into consideration when choosing an area to put down roots, as traffic in Houston can be treacherous during rush hour.
Lastly, students attend public schools in Houston based on catchment zone, and as a result, expat parents may want to choose housing in an area associated with schools of a high standard.
Renting a house in Houston
With over 550,000 apartments, a robust collection of gated communities and a number of near-town bungalows, there’s plenty of opportunity for expats to find a house to rent in Houston that suits their budget and aligns with their priorities.
Foreigners should keep in mind that the average recorded rental price in Houston in 2010 was just over 720 USD per month, but sub-letting options can be secured for much less, and leases for larger family homes negotiated for much more.
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available in Houston, but in both cases, basic fittings (like light fixtures and blinds) and some white label appliances (like a stove, refrigerator, and washing machine, etc.) are usually included.
It’s even been noted that many amenities that would be deemed as luxuries in other locations, are included as standard in many Houston apartments.
Rental insurance is not compulsory in Texas, but is recommended. Smoke alarms, on the other hand, are required, and expat renters should be sure their house includes this feature.
Finding rental housing in Houston
Once you’ve picked the area of Houston in which you’d like to live, it’s a simple of matter of perusing listings and applying for tenancy.
In the past, realtors have primarily dealt with those looking to purchase property, but given the robust rental market, many have begun to open departments that cater to the letting population.
Expats can consult one of these professionals, or can choose to look on their own.
Many locals will still insist that newspapers are still the best place to find rentals in Houston. Expats can consult the “Houston Chronicle”, the “Houston Press” or some of the smaller community papers.
Others will recommend you look through online listings. Craigslist.com, Rent.com and HAR.com all provide an assortment of options based on area and features.
Leases in Houston, like the greater US, are typically for 12 months, though some can be found and negotiated for six months. Deposits are generally required, but do vary in amount. Credit checks may or may not be conducted, and depend on the landlord or the agency letting the property.