8 Things to Know Before Moving to Texas
Your Moving to Texas Guide
Why is everyone moving to Texas?
It could be a matter of location logistics. Texas is one of the largest states, and it’s right in the middle of the Lower 48. It could be the unique culture that makes Texas unlike anywhere else in the world. Or it could be the thriving economy.
The answer to the question, why are people moving to Texas, is multifaceted. Right now, Texas is a hub of activity. There’s something for everyone even if you’ve never chowed down on brisket or donned a pair of cowboy boots in your life.
If you’re thinking about moving to Texas things to know include:
- It’s the 2nd most populous state with over 28.7 million residents.
- Between 2017 and 2018 it was the fastest growing state in terms of numeric growth.
- The unemployment rate is under the national average at 3.4%.
- A recent WalletHub study found that Texas was the second most diverse state in the country.
- Nearly a third (32%) of U.S. crude oil comes from Texas.
- Texas has the 10th largest GDP in the world.
- Texas generates more wind energy than any other state in the U.S. The state’s largest wind farm is almost 5 times the size of Manhattan.
With 238 cities that have populations of 10,000+ people you’re sure to find a place where you want to lay down roots and watch the bluebonnets grow. If you need a little more convincing, here are 8 other things to know before moving to Texas.
1. Get Ready for the Warm Weather
There’s a reason many people from up north choose to retire in Texas. It’s warm.
From the humid bayous of Houston to the arid desert of El Paso, 90-degree temperatures are the norm during the summer, which can stretch well into October. Blink and what feels like fall is over.
The Panhandle gets cold in the winter, but everywhere else in Texas it’s pretty mild. It rarely drops below the 50s. Ice and snow is so rare it’s big news when it occurs and everything shuts down. The brief springtime in March and April is quite nice as the warmer weather gets the wildflowers going.
2. Texas Has Lower Taxes (Mostly)
Everything is bigger in Texas, except the tax rate. It’s one of only seven states that doesn’t have a state income tax. Saving hundreds or even thousands on your annual tax bill is one of the greatest benefits of moving to Texas.
The sales tax is also generally lower compared to other states. However, this does vary by city since local governments can add up to 2% sales tax on top of the state rate of 6.25%.
Texas is also well-known for offering very favorable tax rates for businesses. Local entities will even provide short-term tax exemptions to encourage businesses to move to Texas.
The one exception is property taxes. These do tend to be higher than other states, and the property value can be reassessed each year.
3. Texas Homes Are Affordable
The property taxes may be higher, but the home prices are a lot lower in many Texas cities. There’s also a lot of housing variety, including a number of new homes. The Dallas and Houston metros have lead the country in new home starts in the last few years.
Even if you do pay around the national average home price ($226,800), you’ll get more for your money. Business Insider ranked Texas 23rd based on median listing price, but the price per square foot is actually lower than 16 states with farther down on the list. This is even more impressive when you consider that Texas is a coastal state and coastal states tend to be more expensive.
Not ready to own as soon as you move to Texas? The rent budget stretches a lot further in Texas as well. Just as with owning a home, you can find really nice 2+ bedroom apartments and townhomes to rent for under $1,500 in most cities.
4. Your Electricity Bills Could Be Cheaper
When you’re weighing the pros and cons of moving to Texas utilities should be a factor. You’ll use more energy in the summer to cool your home, but luckily electric and gas rates tend to be lower in Texas. The average price per kilowatt hour is around 13.17 cents in the U.S. In Texas it’s 11.85 cents on average.
One thing that helps keep electricity rates in check is deregulation. Texas has been deregulated since 2002, giving customers the ability to choose their electric provider and plan. The competition between providers has helped to keep rates low. You can switch providers at any time without worrying about service interruption since the electricity is supplied from the local utility no matter which provider you choose. However, keep in mind that not every city makes use of energy deregulation. For example, Austin still uses a single co-op to provide electricity.
Want to know more about how deregulation works in Texas? Check out this deregulation overview or give Spark Energy a call and we can provide more information. We provide electricity and gas service to thousands of households and businesses across Texas.
5. The Texas Job Market is Booming
One of the biggest reasons people have been moving to Texas for years is the strong jobs market. Oil is big business, but many people are surprised to find how diverse the economy is around the state. Some of the top Texas industries outside of energy include tech, healthcare, telecommunications, business services, construction and education.
In 2017, Texas was third on the Fortune 500 list with a total of 50 companies. There are also 143 4-year colleges that have a ripple effect within local economies.
6. The Energy Market in Texas is Huge
Thousands of jobs are created in the massive energy sector. ExxonMobile and Shell are among the largest employers, and ExxonMobile has a state-of-the-art campus in The Woodlands. The natural gas boom has expanded operations in West Texas creating a whole new source of energy.
But the energy market isn’t limited to oil and gas production. Texas is the #1 producer of wind energy in the U.S. and generation is growing. In 2017, wind accounted for 15% of electricity generated in Texas. Not only is this generating jobs, it’s also helping lower the cost of electricity and giving residents the option of using clean energy.
7. Texans Love Their Football
Even if you aren’t a sportsfan, you’ve probably heard of the Dallas Cowboys. You may have also seen Varsity Blues or Friday Night Lights, both of which take place in Texas. Texans are fanatical about football from high school to college to professional level of play. It’s no surprise that Texas has more Division I football teams than any other state.
8. Food in Texas
There are few places in the country where you’ll find such passion for food. Texas is the land of pitmasters that spend hours getting the perfect smoke ring around a slab of mouthwatering, mind-blowing brisket. The state is so famous for BBQ, Texas style bar-be-cue is eaten around the country.
When you’ve had your fill of smoked beef and sausage, there’s also an endless array of TexMex dishes. It’s an amazing blend of cuisine from both sides of the border. Texas is even credited as the birthplace of fajitas and the puffy taco. You can wash it all down with a craft beer or Mexican martini.
Another surprise for non-Texans is the authentic German fare. In the 1800s German immigrants settled in Central Texas bringing their culture along with them. The best time to gorge on German food is during Wurstfest, the Texas version of Oktoberfest in New Braunfels.
The Texas State Fair is yet another foodie destination. It’s food competition is world-famous, and it’s the epicenter of all things fried.
Moving to Texas Checklist
Like what you hear so far? Already packing up and looking for a mover that can help you relocate to Texas? Make sure you get everything arranged in advance so it’s a smooth move to the Lone Star State.
Moving to Texas – Things to Know Before Getting Here
Choose a Good Moving Company With the Right Credentials
Doing a DIY move is possible when you’re going across town, but moving from out-of-state is another story. Hiring a good moving company is worth the investment. Before you lock in a move date, do some research to find a Texas moving company with a good reputation. Make sure they have a:
- TxDMV license
- License to operate
- USDOT number (if they are moving things across state lines)
Update Your Address With USPS
Updating your address is a lot easier today than it was a few decades ago. About a week before your move you can go online and update your address at USA.gov/post-office. It’s the fastest and easiest method, but you will have to pay a $1 identity verification fee.
Update Your Drivers License and Vehicle Registration
You’ve got 30 days to register your vehicle after moving to Texas. To register your vehicle you’ll need:
- Proof of auto insurance that meets state requirements
- The title or the current registration to prove ownership
- Proof the vehicle has passed inspections
The vehicle inspections are surprising to some new Texas residents since they aren’t required in many states. You have to take the vehicle to a certified Vehicle Inspection Station once a year to verify it’s in operable condition.
Initial registration happens at the county tax assessor’s office. You’ll have to pay a registration fee, title application fee and sales tax fee. But you’ll get two shiny new license plates, one for the front and one for the back of your vehicle. The license plates are good for seven years.
Within 90 days of moving to Texas you need to update your drivers license. Since it’s the first time you’re getting a Texas license you’ll have to visit the local Texas DPS location in person. If you’re over 18 years old and your license is still valid you won’t have to retake any tests. However, the DPS will take your current drivers license and issue you a paper one that can be used until your new Texas license comes in the mail.
Line Up Utilities in Advance
As soon as you sign a rental agreement or close on a home you can start looking into lining up utilities. The first thing to check on is whether or not your new city is deregulated. The city government website should be able to verify this information. You can also look into setting up water and trash collection service, which is typically provided by the city.
If your new city is deregulated comparison shopping will help you find the best rates. You can either visit provider websites or use the Public Utility Commission’s Power to Choose tool to compare available electric and gas plans.
Checking electric and gas rates is easy at SparkEnergy.com. Simply input your new zip code to see a list of plans with the term, rates and special features. All you have to do is sign up for service and we’ll handle the rest.
WELCOME TO TEXAS!