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Relocating from Los Angeles


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Hello everybody!

I found this forum and think it's very informative and full of great advice. Speaking of which, I need plenty of from anybody living in Houston. Here is my situation: Me, my wife and little baby are thinking of moving to Houston in a few months. We visited it last year, in summer, and loved it. It has friendly people, warm climate, great food, CHEAP houses, and is somewhat similar to LA when it comes to traffic, ethnicities and distances . That said, I wish you can educate me where would we better off raising a family in a quiet, safe neighborhood with great schools. Distance really doesn't matter to me since I have seen much worse in LA and our budget for a 3bdr/2 bath,2000ft house (used is fine) is no more than $150,000. We liked the suburbs/cities of: Kingwood, the Woodlands and Sugar Land. Please tell me which has less likelihood of being flooded during a storm and if Kingwood is in the flight path of airplanes to IAH? Also, if and when the Woodlands becomes Harris County, what can be expected to change? Basically, what is the cost of living in those neighborhoods for somebody with no mortgage, few bills...? I hear, property taxes and home insurance are high? How much is high and how about auto insurance?

Also, since I work in the IT industry, what are the job opportunities in this city?

Thanks in advance!


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Guest danax
Basically, what is the cost of living in those neighborhoods for somebody with no mortgage, few bills...? I hear, property taxes and home insurance are high? How much is high and how about auto insurance?

Also, since I work in the IT industry, what are the job opportunities in this city?

Thanks in advance!


Welcome Nick. Glad to hear you liked Houston...in the summer.

Property taxes are much higher. It depends on which area you live in as to how much your total tax bill percentage is each year. It varies from 3% in the City of Houston (not sure about Kingwood, which is in Houston but still might have a MUD (municipal utility district) which adds about 1%) to about 4% in some burbs like parts of Katy. You really need to check that when shopping as neighboring subdivisions can vary.

Auto insurance: I have no idea how we compare. I pay $400 a year, liability only (old car) and I live in an urban zip code. Clean driving record too.

Gasoline: Paid $2.41 last night.

Food: Probably the same

The guy that takes care of our computers in the office lives in Kingwood, is a 26 year old from Philly, and has more business than he can handle, but he's an independent and is established.

As long as you're comfortable with suburban living and commutes, you should be happy. Traffic is "bad" but nowhere near as bad as LA. I've been here since '92 after having lived in LA for 11 years and I haven't truly complained about Houston's traffic yet.

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Check out the Cypress area as well. It's got great schools, beautiful neighborhoods, nice homes, big trees, and relatively low taxes.

Any home in the new Cypress Woods HS zone will be a solid investment as this encompasses some of the best schools and neighborhoods in the renown Cy-Fair School district - solid. Cy-Fair and Cy-Creek are very good too.

This is the best resource for home buyers in Houston, it's Houston's largest MLS:


Here are some nice neighborhoods for you to check out in NW Houston in both Cypress and Klein (two areas on either side of the Hewlett Packard campus:

In the Cypress Area:

Wincrest Falls, Longwood, Coles Crossing, Lakewood Oaks Estates, Lakewood, Stable Gate, Village Creek, Northpointe Forest, Tuscany, Rock Creek, Cypress Creek Lakes, Riata Ranch, Stone Oak, Lakes of Rosehill, Lismore Lakes, Park Forest, Northlake Forest, Villaggio, Sydney Harbour, Lakewood Glen, Reserve at Cypress Creek, Blackhorse Ranch, Leyland Shores, Fairfield, Windermere Lakes, Wortham Estates, Vintage Lakes, Western Estates, Lakewood Crossing, Lakewood Grove, Lakes of Fairhaven, Copper Lakes, Stone Gate, and all of the various little ranchettes.

In the Klein area:

Gleannloch Farms, Champion Forest, Champions, Lakes of Sterling Gate, Theisswood Estates, Huntwick, Champions Park, Champions Park North, Highland Timbers, Memorial Northwest, Wimbledon Champions, Woods of Wimbledon, The Falls at Champion Forest, Windrose, Glenn Haven Estates, Brentwood Lakes, Champion Oaks, Estates at Windrush, Spring Creek Oaks, Cypresswood Forest, Wimbledon Estates, Memorial Creek, Champions Centre, Estates at Champions Park, Hamlet at Champions, Marble Gate, Barrington Woods and all of the little Champions enclaves and gated communities.

Edited by mrfootball
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^Don't fall for him, come out to Katy. ;)

I wouldn't go to Katy. I'd stick with Sugar Land, Woodlands, and Kingwood if you like planned communities. Traffic is better managed and so are building codes in these areas. Much less hodge podge development than Katy, Cypress, and Klein. Sugar Land/First Colony would be the easiest commute of the 3 while I would say the Woodlands is the nicest and most upscale. The other two are close on its heels though. Schools in each of these areas are good. Sugar Land would be the most diverse, I've heard it's the most diverse affluent suburban area in the nation.

I really don't think you'd be disappointed with any of these three, simply weigh your options:

The Woodlands - pretty, many trees, very upscale but furthest away from downtown and uptown.

Kingwood - pretty, many trees, less commercial, far from downtown and uptown but no traffic, close to airport.

Sugar Land - pretty but in an organized way, few native trees, upscale, closest to uptown and downtown, easy commute.

You'll find home prices in your range in any of these areas, the Woodlands would have the fewest options.

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Once you drive Sugar Land & the Woodlands, you'll only have one question to ask yourself: "Pine forest, or no pine forest?" The Woodlands is literally a community carved from a pine forest. Sugar Land on the other hand is a manicured town that is 100% landscaped. Both are beautiful, its just a matter of taste.

Welcome to Houston.

Edited by Jeebus
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i'm a long time fan and resident of the woodlands. in recent months, i've become a big fan of sugarland. contrary to something someone earlier said, the woodlands has "many" choices in the 150K range. however, the majority of homes in the woodlands proper and not on the periphery in the 150K range will be a twenty minute drive from the main interstate or 30 year old homes or new and older townhomes. there are woodlands "area" neighborhoods in your range without the woodlands' amenities (and without the woodlands association fees BTW). if you are a real estate speculator or a handyman, there are many homes near the new town center and woodlands' waterway in the 150K range that are going up in value quarterly (according to realtors i've spoken to).

that being said, i'm not sure that sugarland or kingwood offers the "culture" of the woodlands. the woodlands has multiple layers of community organizations, assocations, clubs, educational and religious affiliations. the backbone of these community groups is from an organization called "interfaith". we have prestigious private schools and quality public schools (not as good as Klein ISD, i might add). there is a growing artist and performing arts community here in the woods. we have the cynthia woods mitchell pavilion, the summer home of the houston symphony. concerts we enjoy here include nine inch nails, depeche mode, dave matthews band, 50 cent, earth wind and fire, the cure, the buzz fest, and many, many more. we are currently looking at the demand for a performing arts center for broadway, off broadway plays or local productions. the woodlands has a long term financial commitment to the arts and public works of art.

if you have more questions about the woodlands feel free to IM me.

with that being said, i think that kingwood, the woodlands or sugarland or cypress will be an improvement in environment and cost from that of LA.

we look forward to having you. but PLEASE!, please don't tell anyone else. it's our little secret. if the west coast discovers us we're doomed............doomed i tell you! ;)

Edited by bachanon
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Basically, if you want ethnic 'diversity' you'll find it all over town...some more than others. If you want more, choose Sugarland and the Southwest side. If you want more ethnic homogeneity choose The Woodlands, Klein, or Cypress. Each has their pluses and minuses.

If you like trees...choose the Memorial area or Northwest to Northeast-sides Klein, Spring, Cypress, Woodlands or Kingwood.

If you like sun and prairies...choose Katy.

If you like saltwater...choose Clear Lake

If you like Plano...choose Sugar Land

If you like refineries, foul air, and cancer...choose the Southeast side.

If you have kids, I would seriously look at the schools that you are going to be zoned to. It means everything. Good schools include most or all of the schools zoned to the following High Schools: Klein, Cy-Fair, Cy-Creek, Cy-Woods, Klein Oak, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Tomball, Katy Taylor, Memorial, Stratford, Cinco Ranch, Bellaire, Lamar-maybe and I'm sure there are some down in Sugarland and in Clear Lake/Friendswood/Pearland but I've no idea about those.

There are really nice neighborhoods all over this city with a lot of variety.

Edited by mrfootball
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