Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

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ripvanwinklesf
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 9:18 am

Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by ripvanwinklesf »

My spouse got a job offer to relocate to Houston, Texas. We are looking for advice on:
a) biggest pros and cons of moving to Houston for Californians - financially, culturally, weather, education, travel-wise/airport accessibility to various places, outdoor lifestyle, etc. - and
b) if we take the job, where would be some good places to live in Houston area with reasonable commute to Katy that would be safe, have good quality schools, and not too expensive/fancy more just middle class.

More information about our situation:

New job is a big promotion to VP and a substantial pay increase (currently at ~$250k-$300k range all-in to ~$450k-$500k in new position). Her current company is much larger and her current position is less senior so I would say more stable / secure. Since she is moving into a more senior role at a smaller company, I would say the new job has more upside but more risk.

She is not in tech industry but rather in traditional industry that is not the dominant industry in either SF Bay or Houston, so staying in the SF Bay Area tech mecca is not a factor.

In terms of my career, I am currently a SAHD and working on some light consulting projects after leaving a career in finance / big tech so my career is not a major consideration here.

Lifestyle: We are frugal minimalists who lead relatively simple lives filled with family-friendly activities, most of which revolve around our 2 elementary school children, and are largely free. Examples: trail hiking, soccer, swimming in our pool or beaches, etc. The big exception is travel, which post COVID we hope to engage in again [our favorites are warm places with great food and/or beaches, e.g. Asia, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica). However, we are credit card hackers and frugal travelers [in Maui, we go right to Costco and cook ourselves at our timeshare and only go to places like Sunrise Cafe/food trucks/fish markets not Roys, Duke's, or Lahaina Grill :)].

As such, our monthly recurring living expenses are low at ~$4k, which excludes our current VHCOL CA housing costs and any one-time kids expenses which can pop up [braces, soccer fees, medical]. If we take the job, we plan to keep and rent out our CA house but it will now cash flow easily and possibly cover much of this $4k.

Our net worth is currently at ~$5.8mm [~$6mm if you count house appreciation since we purchased] after the recent run up in the markets post election. So while more money is certainly nice, it is not really necessary given our low key lifestyle and current FI status.

We currently reside in the East Bay of San Francisco bay area but have only lived in our current city for about 2 years. We feel most at home culturally in moderately conservative/libertarian areas (think Danville or San Ramon) and sold our places in SF city after things went a just a wee bit too far in the other direction :). We do like our area and the schools and the kids are happy as is, but none of us have a lot of close friends since we have only been here a short while since the SF move and COVID has impacted nearly 1/2 our time here.

The job is in the Katy, Texas area. In terms of our housing preferences, we prefer a ~2500 square foot house with 3/4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 0.25 acre lot with a spa and pool.

Thank you!!!
MTK
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by MTK »

Will be a culture shock. But live in Katy, decent schools, shopping and save time commuting. Middle class area. Lots of cheap houses to buy or rent.
jello_nailer
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by jello_nailer »

MTK wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:18 pm Will be a culture shock. But live in Katy, decent schools, shopping and save time commuting. Middle class area. Lots of cheap houses to buy or rent.
Live near where you will work if you can. I travel from NW Cypress area to Pearland when I go into the office. 80 minutes and 4 tolls each way. Culture shock is one thing, as is oppressive weather (except for glorious today).

You will love the home prices and cost of living.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by HawkeyePierce »

I grew up in Katy after moving there from the Bay. Schools were good—at the time Katy ISD was building a new high school every five years, not sure if they're still at that pace.

Houston has (IMO) the best food scene in the country. You will not be disappointed.

As for travel, IAH Is a major airport. Not as many Asia connections as SFO but its LatAm/S. America schedule is top notch.

If the job is in Katy I would just live there.
checkyourmath
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by checkyourmath »

Schooldigger just live in a 5 star community. I loved living in Houston. It is the definition of a melting pot. Memorial Park is a ton of fun. Houston is actually a mecca for yoga.
baritone
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by baritone »

I grew up in Houston. Despise the weather and the traffic. I've been gone 35 years and I won't go back unless I'm in police custody.
Of course I'm retired, so you will be making more money and enjoying a lower cost of living. Just don't go outside much.
supalong52
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by supalong52 »

checkyourmath wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:52 pm Schooldigger just live in a 5 star community. I loved living in Houston. It is the definition of a melting pot. Memorial Park is a ton of fun. Houston is actually a mecca for yoga.
Hot yoga?
gch
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by gch »

a) financially - will be much much cheaper in virtually every aspect

culturally - Houston is very diverse, but also very spread out so depending on where you live/work you may not feel the diversity.

Weather - it’s very hot and very humid. Weather will be a very net negative.

education - suburbs all have good public school, but all are 45 minutes to 1.5 hours outside of downtown. If you want to live closer in then you’re looking at private schools (there are many) or could live in the memorial area but be ready to spend big dollars (compared to the rest of the city)

travel-wise/airport accessibility to various places - Bush International will have flights to pretty much anywhere and then Southwest Airlines’ Hub called Hobby if you fly Southwest can get you to most places in the US for a decent price. Also 2-5ish hour drive to Dallas, New Orleans, San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill Country

outdoor lifestyle - there are green spaces throughout the city and suburbs, but probably nothing like what you’re accustomed to.

b) if we take the job, where would be some good places to live in Houston area with reasonable commute to Katy that would be safe, have good quality schools, and not too expensive/fancy more just middle class.

You can just live in Katy. It’s squarely a middle class suburb west of Houston with good schools. Other alternative would be the Memorial area which is west Houston. It has good schools, but is quite a bit more expensive and depending on your definition probably wouldn’t be considered middle class living.
camden
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by camden »

You will be pleasantly amazed at how much cheaper housing prices will be, as well as the fact that Texas has no state income tax. Lots of areas to choose from in or near Katy with good neighborhoods and decent schools. Bush international airport has good connections to almost anywhere when you are able to start traveling again. Summers are unpleasantly hot/humid, but winters are mild and early spring/late fall is really nice. Enjoy your stay there!
Firemenot
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Firemenot »

ripvanwinklesf wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:59 pm My spouse got a job offer to relocate to Houston, Texas. We are looking for advice on:
a) biggest pros and cons of moving to Houston for Californians - financially, culturally, weather, education, travel-wise/airport accessibility to various places, outdoor lifestyle, etc. - and
b) if we take the job, where would be some good places to live in Houston area with reasonable commute to Katy that would be safe, have good quality schools, and not too expensive/fancy more just middle class.

More information about our situation:

New job is a big promotion to VP and a substantial pay increase (currently at ~$250k-$300k range all-in to ~$450k-$500k in new position). Her current company is much larger and her current position is less senior so I would say more stable / secure. Since she is moving into a more senior role at a smaller company, I would say the new job has more upside but more risk.

She is not in tech industry but rather in traditional industry that is not the dominant industry in either SF Bay or Houston, so staying in the SF Bay Area tech mecca is not a factor.

In terms of my career, I am currently a SAHD and working on some light consulting projects after leaving a career in finance / big tech so my career is not a major consideration here.

Lifestyle: We are frugal minimalists who lead relatively simple lives filled with family-friendly activities, most of which revolve around our 2 elementary school children, and are largely free. Examples: trail hiking, soccer, swimming in our pool or beaches, etc. The big exception is travel, which post COVID we hope to engage in again [our favorites are warm places with great food and/or beaches, e.g. Asia, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica). However, we are credit card hackers and frugal travelers [in Maui, we go right to Costco and cook ourselves at our timeshare and only go to places like Sunrise Cafe/food trucks/fish markets not Roys, Duke's, or Lahaina Grill :)].

As such, our monthly recurring living expenses are low at ~$4k, which excludes our current VHCOL CA housing costs and any one-time kids expenses which can pop up [braces, soccer fees, medical]. If we take the job, we plan to keep and rent out our CA house but it will now cash flow easily and possibly cover much of this $4k.

Our net worth is currently at ~$5.8mm [~$6mm if you count house appreciation since we purchased] after the recent run up in the markets post election. So while more money is certainly nice, it is not really necessary given our low key lifestyle and current FI status.

We currently reside in the East Bay of San Francisco bay area but have only lived in our current city for about 2 years. We feel most at home culturally in moderately conservative/libertarian areas (think Danville or San Ramon) and sold our places in SF city after things went a just a wee bit too far in the other direction :). We do like our area and the schools and the kids are happy as is, but none of us have a lot of close friends since we have only been here a short while since the SF move and COVID has impacted nearly 1/2 our time here.

The job is in the Katy, Texas area. In terms of our housing preferences, we prefer a ~2500 square foot house with 3/4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 0.25 acre lot with a spa and pool.

Thank you!!!
At your NW, you should eat at Roys or Dukes (or better yet Mama’s Fish House) when on Maui! :happy
stimulacra
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by stimulacra »

Grew up and currently live in Houston.

Check out Spring Branch or Town and Country area for proximity to Katy. Town and Country will be a bit more upscale and immediately south of I-10. Spring Branch will be more middle class (but is rapidly gentrifying). Bunker Hill is another area to consider.

I think the sweet spot for you will be along the I-10 corridor, outside the 610 Loop but inside Beltway 8. Traffic won't be too bad (~30 minutes each way) but positions you close to urban and cultural amenities.

Westchase (a little further south of Town and Country) is another nice quiet neighborhood.

If you're more into a suburban vibe; Katy, Richmond, and Sugarland are all nice communities nearby. Just be prepared to drive everywhere.

I would avoid considering the Energy Corridor as a place to live.
Firemenot
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Firemenot »

Am I correct in thinking that “option handcuffs” are not a factor?
Marylander1
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Marylander1 »

Don't buy a house in a reservoir or other flood-prone area.

https://projects.propublica.org/graphic ... reservoirs

Marylander1
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by HawkeyePierce »

camden wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:49 pm You will be pleasantly amazed at how much cheaper housing prices will be, as well as the fact that Texas has no state income tax. Lots of areas to choose from in or near Katy with good neighborhoods and decent schools. Bush international airport has good connections to almost anywhere when you are able to start traveling again. Summers are unpleasantly hot/humid, but winters are mild and early spring/late fall is really nice. Enjoy your stay there!
No state income tax but high property taxes, >2% in some areas.
srt7
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by srt7 »

It WILL be a culture shock so don't sell your CA house just yet. At your net worth you can easily afford to keep it w/o tenants anyway. So my suggestion is to go in with an open mind and try to enjoy everything in this new episode of your life. If you make it through the first summer and hurricane season and feel good about the move then you can buy a house in Houston metro and get settled in for good.
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Makaveli
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Makaveli »

Marylander1 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:54 pm Don't buy a house in a reservoir or other flood-prone area.

https://projects.propublica.org/graphic ... reservoirs

Marylander1
+1 understand the area & associated weather/risks
Exchme
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Exchme »

The Katy school district is very good, so you may want to look in that area. In the Katy area, south of I-10 has better average neighborhoods than north, some that might be in your range are Firethorne, Seven Lakes, Cinco Ranch. Lots of open land and nice neighborhoods to the west. But like any big city, there is traffic, so drive the route between work and your prospective home on a weekday at rush hour, the actual commute time may be a lot longer than you thought.

The style in Houston is to buy lots of house and then in the summer, live inside or in the pool. From mid October to mid April, the weather is good (with a couple weeks in January that gets cold), but the rest of the year is hot. Even if you enjoyed doing your own yard work in Ca., forget about that in Houston, hire it done.

Remember, there are no basements, so you will need more square footage to store "stuff" than you might somewhere else, but compared to the SF area, you can also afford an astonishing house. Property taxes will be high in the spots with good schools, 2.85-3.2%. At your tax bracket, that will still be a big savings vs. the total tax burden in Ca.

Been in the area for over 30 years and can attest that you do not need a cowboy hat, but after a decade or so, you may find an occasional "y'all" slipping out.
j9j
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by j9j »

You kinda hit the jackpot with that level of salary and being located in Katy. You can find nice housing and avoid the downtown commute a lot of us endure. Katy snd nearby Sugarland area(fort bend ISD) have some great school choices.

Katy is epitome of Texas suburban life and that can be very nice if you like the suburbs. Over the past ten years it has developed good Asian population, in fact a lot of Asian eateries have popped up near the big Hmart(Korean) complex.

Houston in general is not ‘scenic’ especially coming from California. Also, the summers are pretty bad. As someone mentioned, summers are great to stay indoors in spacious home/pool. Both of which you can easily afford near Katy.
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Watty
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Watty »

I was on a much different level but I did a corporate relocation from the west coast to the southeast(not Texas) years ago so I may have run into some of the same differences that you may find.
ripvanwinklesf wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:59 pm In terms of our housing preferences, we prefer a ~2500 square foot house with 3/4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 0.25 acre lot with a spa and pool.

....and not too expensive/fancy more just middle class.
I don't know about Houston but here in Atlanta and most of the south they really like houses and lots big and it does not cost a lot more to build a huge monstrosity of a house so they are popular. We did not want a huge house so it took a lot of looking to find a reasonable size house in a good neighborhood.

The problem was that many of the reasonable size houses were not in really good areas or they were on tiny undesirable lots. Pay a lot of attention to how many rentals are in the subdivision and what percent of kids in the schools qualify for free lunches.

You also need to be realistic about just what "middle class" is since the Bay Area and Boglehead perception of what "middle class" is probably not very accurate. (I hate the term "class" used this way since it sounds like something from a Jane Austen novel. Middle income would make more sense but it "is what it is".)

Compared to the Bay Area you will likely find that subdivisions are a lot more economically diverse and if you do end up in an actual nice middle class neighborhood many of your neighbors may be blue collar workers or similar level retail or office workers since if you have a couple where they each make $50K a year would have a combined $100K income. In an area where housing is reasonable that is likely enough income to buy a nice house especially if this is their second "move up" house. They may also be a real tight budget.

Living near people with different backgrounds can have advantages so I don't want to sound like a snob but you will need to be real careful so that you do not alienate your neighbors. With all the talk about travel that might be difficult and you may even have people that live in your neighborhood that work for the same company as your wife, but are at the bottom of the corporate pyramid. If you do not have a lot in common with your neighbors you may have a hard time making new friends.

You may also find that many of your kids friends and classmates have parents who did not go to college which can affect expectations about schoolwork.

While you might be happy with a middle class house, especially since even expensive Bay Area houses tend to be small, it might make sense to consider if you would fit in better in a more affluent but not wealthy subdivision.
Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

At your net worth and with your lifestyle, I would make this decision as if money wasn't a factor. Do you wish to make this move? Sure, the income will be a lot higher and the expenses a lot lower but, for all intents and purposes, what difference does that make to someone who lives frugally and has $6M? Check out the area and see if you like it better. If you don't, there doesn't seem to be any real need to make this move. For full disclosure, I live in your neck of the woods so may be a bit biased toward this area because of the outstanding neighborhood, excellent schools, and phenomenal weather (I did say I was biased).
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Interesting thread. You have enough money to retire now. Why not rent in TX hassle free, make another $5M and come back home to the east bay for retirement? Prop 13 baby!
Last edited by Wannaretireearly on Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DSBH
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by DSBH »

Lots of good advice above about Houston and Katy. If you decide that the move and all trade-offs are worth making, I’d second the recommendations about the good Katy ISD, and living around Katy south of I-10 on either side of highway 99.

You can check out this web site for Houston real estate (inc.Katy of course): www.har.com - if you download their app onto your iPad (assuming you use iPad), you can see the listings on the maps and have a better idea where things are.

FWIW here is an article on the top school district in Houston: https://www.har.com/blog_83179_top-scho ... in-houston.
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BogleFan510
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by BogleFan510 »

srt7 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:08 pm It WILL be a culture shock so don't sell your CA house just yet. At your net worth you can easily afford to keep it w/o tenants anyway. So my suggestion is to go in with an open mind and try to enjoy everything in this new episode of your life. If you make it through the first summer and hurricane season and feel good about the move then you can buy a house in Houston metro and get settled in for good.
+1 Lived in Dallas 5 years, with clients in Houston, then worked for a Houston based company, while living in CA. Offered big responsibilty to move back to Texas (Houston) or be laid off. Chose layoff with package and spent 2 months in Italy and Turkey with DW.

That said, I really enjoyed the experience and even having neighborhood dinners with extremely right wing type people who would openly say things like Californians are communists bent on destroying America and then ask me to have a business dinner at a 'gentlemans club.' Great learning experience on par with our time living in Japan and Australia. Don't underestimate cultural differences and be prepared to listen and smile.

Texan hospitality is tremendously friendly. Get out and meet your neighbors. They will be good people.

Edit: Didnt mean to stereotype, there is diversity, especially in Houston, its huge...but also a lot of native Texans being native Texans.
Last edited by BogleFan510 on Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
visualguy
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by visualguy »

Ron Ronnerson wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:20 pm At your net worth and with your lifestyle, I would make this decision as if money wasn't a factor. Do you wish to make this move? Sure, the income will be a lot higher and the expenses a lot lower but, for all intents and purposes, what difference does that make to someone who lives frugally and has $6M? Check out the area and see if you like it better. If you don't, there doesn't seem to be any real need to make this move. For full disclosure, I live in your neck of the woods so may be a bit biased toward this area because of the outstanding neighborhood, excellent schools, and phenomenal weather (I did say I was biased).
+1

When money is not a constraint, why not just live where you prefer to live? Life is too short to move to an area you like less in order to make extra money that you don't need. I wouldn't make the move unless there was something truly awesome about the job, and/or I really wanted to live there for some reason.
ktd
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by ktd »

Don't sell your house. You are not going to like it coming from San Ramon or Danville to Houston.
mighty72
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by mighty72 »

Culture, COL and weather will be big differences. Some folks like the Texas culture and others like Bay Area. Weather wise, it is a no-brainer; at least for me. Bay Area wins. COL again is a no-brainer; houston wins.
It depends on what you want. I would not leave Bay Area for Texas if I had as much money as you do
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Wannaretireearly »

mighty72 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:57 pm Culture, COL and weather will be big differences. Some folks like the Texas culture and others like Bay Area. Weather wise, it is a no-brainer; at least for me. Bay Area wins. COL again is a no-brainer; houston wins.
It depends on what you want. I would not leave Bay Area for Texas if I had as much money as you do
Yep. IMO OP should treat it like a long term vacation. Then come back home. I've lived in the bay area for 20 years after moving from Europe. I love travelling, however, no matter where I go flying back to the bay/home is very cathartic. Always happy flying over the bay on my way home from travels. When I lived in London it was the opposite :)
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Slacker
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Slacker »

Carefully check the flood zone maps before you buy a house.

In the summers, it can sometimes stay in the 90s and humid even in the middle of the night.
ensign_lee
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by ensign_lee »

Grew up here in Houston, 34, lived here all my life. One thing I maybe missed is how old are you and what are you planning on doing here in town in your leisure time (post COVID)?

I personally went through great lengths and paid essentially a 100% premium to *not* live in Katy. But it's because I did not want to live in Suburbia and I am not yet married with kids. Eating at chains all day every day and having to drive 30+ minutes to see any of my friends who did NOT live in Katy / to go and see football games or musicals in town - it wasn't worth it to me. You may be in a different stage of life with 2 kids already. And you may enjoy eating at chain restaurants vs local ones.

And most importantly, since my job is NOT in Katy, I was not willing to spend 2 hours of my live EVERY DAY commuting to/from work - sounds like this last one will not apply to you.

I also don't know your political leanings, but Katy leans Republican so if that will bother you, I'd say maybe don't live in Katy. You can live in Spring Branch and commute out there; or even the Heights or CityCenter - and then partake in all the culture and food that Houston has to offer inside 610. Traffic shouldn't bother you/your wife much because you'll be going against traffic each way (to work and to home).

Pros here: Your $ will go far. Even the giant mcmansions in Katy will only be 1x income. Or if you decide to live in fancier Valley Oaks/Memorial or the Heights even and it still won't bother you. Food is amazing here - whatever culture you want, we've got it.

Cons: Summer will suck. If you like being outdoors, you'll need to take vacations to be outdoors. I personally escape to the mountains twice a year. Property taxes are high - Mine are just a hair under 3% anually.

Also, I cannot recommend enough to check your flood maps. I would not buy a house that flooded during Harvey; or is in the reservoir.

Good luck with your decision, feel free to ask more questions in this thread or PM me directly if you have ones you don't want in a public forum (political leanings for example).
Last edited by ensign_lee on Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
fasteddie911
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by fasteddie911 »

I'd live close to work in Katy, classic suburbia. Certainly COL will be a positive change and food scene is good and good overall diversity, but it's hot and uncomfortable in Summers, flat, not visually appealing, lots of concrete and strip malls. Houston is fairly green but I wouldn't consider it much of an outdoorsy place. I'd bet flights out of SFO are better too, in terms of cost and destinations, but you'd have to check that. Personally I wouldn't live in Houston if I didn't have to, it doesn't sound like you have to financially.
2tall4economy
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by 2tall4economy »

My in laws live there and we spend most summers down there.

Traffic is miserable in both areas so no change there ;)

Culturally and politically ideologically very very different.

Can’t go a block without seeing a church.

Nice people. Welcoming.

Great restaurants and lots to do.

Lots of growth and expansion. which is good but also means lots of construction.

Water shortage is a thing but probably also true in sf. At least Texas won’t fine you.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.
Starfish
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Starfish »

I don't get this topic. I personally think is trolling.
So you have 6mm, you spend 4k a month in a VHCOL, and you want to turn your life upside down and move in a not such a great place for ... more money? Money for what?
oilrig
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by oilrig »

Everyone saying that Houston is politically different from California, Im not so sure about that. We have had a Democrat mayor for as long as I can remember. Texas as a whole leans Republican, but the big cities tend to lean Democrat. Youre not going to find a lot of the stereotypical cowboy hat wearing, gun toting rednecks like the media portrays Texans to be. Houston is a very diverse city and you will find something for everyone there.
Firemenot
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Firemenot »

Starfish wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:13 am I don't get this topic. I personally think is trolling.
So you have 6mm, you spend 4k a month in a VHCOL, and you want to turn your life upside down and move in a not such a great place for ... more money? Money for what?
Might be more about his wife’s career aspirations.
alfaspider
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by alfaspider »

I think it will be less of a culture shock than many assume. There are a lot of Texas stereotypes that simply do not apply to Houston. It is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., both culturally and politically. The energy industry brings in a lot of ex-pat types from around the world and gives the city an international focus. IAH is a big international airport hub, so there are lots of direct flight wherever you want to go (well, there was pre-COVID and probably will be again).

The biggest knock on Houston is summer weather (will be a big change from bay area) and sprawl. The good news is that the weather is generally quite nice October through April and sprawl issues can be mitigated by living close to work. Katy is quite a ways out from the city center where most of the more "hip" attractions/activities are, but it's family friendly with generally good schools. Although someone suggested commuting from closer in, I'd recommend against it. Even coming from Spring Branch (which is still pretty suburban) is an extra hour of your life on the road. However, that may depend on whether you are talking Katy proper or more energy corridor. Your income/assets would put the Memorial area in range (immediately south of Spring Branch), which has large lots, many trees, and some of the best schools in town. However, if your spouse really doesn't mind commuting, the Heights will have the least culture shift compared to California and is full of quaint smaller houses, hip bars/coffee shops, etc- it is very close to downtown.

As for housing, your biggest problem may be finding a house as small as you are looking for in the area! Most nicer neighborhoods in the Katy area are going to consist of mostly very large Mcmansions. If doing Katy, be wary of flood zones. There is a reservoir that backs up to the Cinco Ranch area (south east Katy region) that had massive flooding issues during Harvey. You can get a decent 3,500sq ft house in the $300k range in Katy, or a 5,000sq ft McMansion in the 600k rang. In Memorial, you'd be looking at $1MM minimum for a livable house of any size. Heights would be $500-$1.5MM depending on size (one of the few neighborhoods that has smaller houses down to sub 2,000sq ft).
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by HawkeyePierce »

oilrig wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:16 am Everyone saying that Houston is politically different from California, Im not so sure about that. We have had a Democrat mayor for as long as I can remember. Texas as a whole leans Republican, but the big cities tend to lean Democrat. Youre not going to find a lot of the stereotypical cowboy hat wearing, gun toting rednecks like the media portrays Texans to be. Houston is a very diverse city and you will find something for everyone there.
Yep. Houston bears zero resemblance to the stereotypes.

Watch Anthony Bourdain's Houston episode from Parts Unknown: https://www.amazon.com/Houston/dp/B01LYAVDVG/

It's the most diverse city in America.

(But yes the weather is awful and flooding is a real risk)
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ripvanwinklesf
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by ripvanwinklesf »

Firemenot wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:53 pm Am I correct in thinking that “option handcuffs” are not a factor?
Great point, current employer relatively stingy on option grants to date after years of service. At her current firm, you have to be higher than VP before it becomes meaningful comp.
Last edited by ripvanwinklesf on Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Firemenot
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Firemenot »

ripvanwinklesf wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:55 am
Firemenot wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:53 pm Am I correct in thinking that “option handcuffs” are not a factor?
Great point, current employer relatively stingy on option grants to date after years of service. At her current firm, you have to be higher than VP before it becomes meaningful comp.
Interesting. I’m not even VP level and my large company gives me tons of options each year.
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by stoptothink »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:54 am
oilrig wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:16 am Everyone saying that Houston is politically different from California, Im not so sure about that. We have had a Democrat mayor for as long as I can remember. Texas as a whole leans Republican, but the big cities tend to lean Democrat. Youre not going to find a lot of the stereotypical cowboy hat wearing, gun toting rednecks like the media portrays Texans to be. Houston is a very diverse city and you will find something for everyone there.
Yep. Houston bears zero resemblance to the stereotypes.

Watch Anthony Bourdain's Houston episode from Parts Unknown: https://www.amazon.com/Houston/dp/B01LYAVDVG/

It's the most diverse city in America.

(But yes the weather is awful and flooding is a real risk)
+2 Stereotypes, primarily false, abound in this thread. California native who lived in Houston for ~5yrs and would move back in a heartbeat. If the weather/heat/humidity doesn't bother you (didn't bother me in the least) and you don't have to deal with the traffic, it's a fantastic place to live. Lived all over the west and Houston IMO had the friendliest people in general, by a large margin (regardless of your ethnicity and/or political leanings).

But, thread is a bit confusing; this is a lifestyle decision, period. OP and wife could call it quits tomorrow and live pretty much wherever they want.
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by rockstar »

The big change will be the weather and culture. You get hurricanes.

Food trucks on Maui are fantastic.
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Ethelred
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Ethelred »

You will be fine in every aspect you mention. You say you have two young kids and your social life revolves around them. Just live in Katy and send your kids to the schools there. There are excellent suburban restaurants and shopping there. There are plenty of moderate Republican/Libertarians in the Houston suburbs (also plenty of moderate Democrats). You will struggle to find a house as small as you say you want, especially on lot as big as a quarter acre. House prices have gone up significantly in the last year, but I imagine are still well below Bay area prices.

The only thing I will flag from your first post is that you will not get the same type of trail walking. Part of the reason for the sprawl of the Houston metro is that it's as flat as a pancake. There are trails along many of the creeks, and within all of the more recent master planned communities, where you will likely live. A lot of people run on neighborhood trails, or cycle, for exercise. The nearest even slightly rugged terrain is in the Hill Country, almost three hours away, west of Austin.
alfaspider
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by alfaspider »

Ethelred wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:11 pm You will be fine in every aspect you mention. You say you have two young kids and your social life revolves around them. Just live in Katy and send your kids to the schools there. There are excellent suburban restaurants and shopping there. There are plenty of moderate Republican/Libertarians in the Houston suburbs (also plenty of moderate Democrats). You will struggle to find a house as small as you say you want, especially on lot as big as a quarter acre. House prices have gone up significantly in the last year, but I imagine are still well below Bay area prices.

The only thing I will flag from your first post is that you will not get the same type of trail walking. Part of the reason for the sprawl of the Houston metro is that it's as flat as a pancake. There are trails along many of the creeks, and within all of the more recent master planned communities, where you will likely live. A lot of people run on neighborhood trails, or cycle, for exercise. The nearest even slightly rugged terrain is in the Hill Country, almost three hours away, west of Austin.
You can get a bit of a trail hiking experience in Memorial Park and the south side trails known as the "Anthills" of Terry Hershey park along Buffalo bayou. They have some vertical relief by virtue of being by the bayou. There are also hiking trails near Conroe in Huntsville state park. But yes, nothing that could be described as "rugged." Closest real wilderness hiking experience and closest mountain of any significance is Big Bend- about 8 hours away.
takeabiteoflife
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by takeabiteoflife »

With your net worth and lifestyle, why the move to Houston? Do you want more money? Is it because DW wants to advance her career? Are the kids ok/excited about the move? Is there a desire to leave CA? I would ask why you are considering this potential change.
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by ensign_lee »

Ethelred wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:11 pmThe only thing I will flag from your first post is that you will not get the same type of trail walking. Part of the reason for the sprawl of the Houston metro is that it's as flat as a pancake. There are trails along many of the creeks, and within all of the more recent master planned communities, where you will likely live. A lot of people run on neighborhood trails, or cycle, for exercise. The nearest even slightly rugged terrain is in the Hill Country, almost three hours away, west of Austin.
This is super true and thank you for bringing this up.

If you truly enjoy outdoor activities and want to do them every weekend, it will be hard to replicate anything similar to what you had in California. For 6-8 months out of the year, it will basically be too hot to do strenuous outdoor activity AT ALL, and for the remainder of the year - our available outdoor activities pale in comparison to anything that you can do in California.

If you want to play organized outdoor sports like volleyball, soccer, kickball, baseball - we've got that. But if you want to go mountain biking, hiking, rafting/kayaking - nada here. You'll be going out of town to do them.

That being said, Houston is a great place to live imo - and if all of this hasn't scared you away, try it. With 2 kids, you may really enjoy suburbia
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Watty
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Watty »

One more thing I forgot to mention. Don't assume that you will end up working in Houston for a while and then retire somewhere else. When I took the transfer to Atlanta the plan was to work here until I retired then move somewhere else and we were even working on a list of possible retirement destinations.

By the time I retired my son was married and settled down here and now we live ten minutes from him and our two grandkids. Once we had the family ties here the plan to retire somewhere else went out the window. It is actually working well so there are no complaints but it is not what we planned on.
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Barsoom »

I'm a 30-year San Ramon resident who moved back to Houston a few years ago.

For me, the closest thing to the tri-valley is the north side, north of Bush airport. That's a bit of a drive to Katy every day, but living in Montgomery County near The Woodlands was a no-brainer for me. I took the bus to work downtown every day until I retired last year.

-B
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Barsoom wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:14 pm I'm a 30-year San Ramon resident who moved back to Houston a few years ago.

For me, the closest thing to the tri-valley is the north side, north of Bush airport. That's a bit of a drive to Katy every day, but living in Montgomery County near The Woodlands was a no-brainer for me. I took the bus to work downtown every day until I retired last year.

-B
Oof. Woodlands to Katy would be a miserable commute.
Eddiecaps1980
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Eddiecaps1980 »

Katy is a good area with nice schools. The woodlands are nice too but more expensive and clearly a drive but you can take the Grand parkway from king wood towards Katy is not that bad.
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Ethelred
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Ethelred »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:24 pm Oof. Woodlands to Katy would be a miserable commute.
Not sure how long you've been out of Houston, but it's been at least possible since the NW section of 99 finished construction between I-10 West and I-45 North in 2016, and I used to commute over part of it. I do agree, though, I'd never recommend anyone choose that commute. Katy and The Woodlands are very similar, other than there being more trees north of Houston.
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Leif
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Re: Relocation to Houston, Texas from SF Bay - Advice

Post by Leif »

Hot, humid, mosquitos. I have a relative near Houston. She says no problem. Just go from your air conditioned house, to your air conditioned car, to your air conditioned office. Reverse the process going home.
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