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Old 04-12-2009, 01:59 PM
 
7 posts, read 9,127 times
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Default Relocating to Houston from Calgary - looking for info

My company is moving me and my family to Houston this summer from Calgary. We have a 7-year old son who will be going into grade 2. I will be working at Greenway Plaza, and my husband will likely be a stay-at-home dad, at least for a while.

We're looking for a home with a swimming pool in approx $230k to $280k range. I can live with a commute to work of up to about an hour (current commute is 40 minutes in Calgary). And of course we want a great school and a friendly, family-oriented neighborhood. We're thinking public school, but haven't yet fully looked into the benefits/drawbacks of public v private.

In looking at neighborhoods online, Cinco Ranch in Katy has caught our attention. It appears to have nice houses in the right price range, good schools, good family amenities. Does anyone know how long the commute would be to Greenway? Are there other communities you would recommend? We'll be heading down in a few weeks to check out some places in person and could use some help narrowing things down.

Also, if there are any other Canucks who have made the move, it'd also be helpful to hear your observations about similarities and differences, what surprised you about Houston, etc. Any insights would be appreciated!
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:10 PM
 
49 posts, read 142,620 times
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Hi Frizzy,

We are Alberta transplants as well, lived just east of Red Deer. We currently live in west Houston but will be moving to south Katy/Cinco Ranch area when we buy. It is a beautiful community, plenty of awesome houses to pick from and really family friendly. Lots of Canadians there as well. That area is also well known for it's top notch public schools. I have no idea what your commute would be because I have no idea where Greenway is. Best thing we like about Houston is the weather. People are very friendly here and the service industry is fantastic when coming from Alberta. We couldn't get over how helpful people were in stores, waiters etc. The thing I miss most living here is Tim Hortons! Starbucks is about your only choice and even finding decent coffee in the grocery store is a challenge. Good luck with your search, if there's anything I can help you with let me know!
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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Sugar Land would be a MUCH better choice for commuting to Greenway Plaza as the area is off U.S. 59 Southwest Freeway. Cinco Ranch's nearest major highway is the Westpark Toll Road, the most pricey 2 lane toll road in the area that has horrible traffic at rush hour. You can find excellent schools in the area. Try doing a search within this forum on Sugar Land for information on neighborhoods and schools.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Greater Houston
3,030 posts, read 5,425,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTownNearNative View Post
Sugar Land would be a MUCH better choice for commuting to Greenway Plaza as the area is off U.S. 59 Southwest Freeway. Cinco Ranch's nearest major highway is the Westpark Toll Road, the most pricey 2 lane toll road in the area that has horrible traffic at rush hour. You can find excellent schools in the area. Try doing a search within this forum on Sugar Land for information on neighborhoods and schools.
Maybe 10 years ago but after going to First Colony Mall within the past 5 years, the traffic on Highway 6 is horrible. Driving down Highway 6 is like driving up and down Post Oak Blvd in the Galleria with the traffic. That made it easy to tell that Sugar Land/Missouri City is very crowded.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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I agree, Sugar Land is probably the best choice for commuting to Greenway Plaza... your drive will be likely be less than 40 minutes if you're living not too far off the Southwest Freeway and can time your drive to be out of the worst traffic times.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Greater Houston
3,030 posts, read 5,425,098 times
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Originally Posted by CanTex View Post
I agree, Sugar Land is probably the best choice for commuting to Greenway Plaza... your drive will be likely be less than 40 minutes if you're living not too far off the Southwest Freeway and can time your drive to be out of the worst traffic times.
From my mother's experience in commuting 20+ years, she tells me to avoid the freeway during rush hour due to the slow-moving bumper-to-bumper traffic and to take the side roads. The access to GP from SL isn't that great. The alternate route to Houston, U.S. 90, is very indirect and serves Downtown and Medical Center commuters.

From Cinco, there are three ways to Houston. I could take Westheimer Parkway to FM 1093 to the Galleria, down West Alabama, right on Post Oak, left on Richmond and I'll arrive in Greenway. You can get also get there by using FM 1093 and then taking the Westheimer Road fork in Clodine or take the other fork and go through Alief and cross back 1 block to Westpark (until Westpark is built between Eldridge and Highway 6). And of course there's I-10.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
15,135 posts, read 14,172,004 times
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If you can do w/o a pool there are townhouses inside the loop (& BW8) in River Oaks/Montrose/Memorial areas. Much shorter commute then.

May want to drop by the Maple Leaf Pub on lower Westheimer, there are a number of folk from north of the 49th parallel watching puck.
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
2,598 posts, read 4,440,433 times
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We made the move from Calgary last year.

I work in the Galleria area, which is about two miles from Greenway.

We chose to move to Sienna Plantation because of the commute. My daily drive ranges from 30 minutes on a good traffic day to about an hour when things go sideways. The Fort Bend toll road works great, and we like the area.

Considered Cinco, but we got a better bang for our $$ in Sienna.

As far as comparing the cities - they're alot alike. Suburban focused, trendy areas near downtown.

As tempting as it may be, don't bring your car. The PITA value just isn't worth it. Much easier to get one here, cheaper too.

The one thing to watch for is property taxes. They run about 5x what Calgary is. An average is 3% of the value of the home. So, for a $250K home you're looking at a total tax bill of about $7-8K per year. The other hurdle is credit. You come down with zero history, and in the current environment, it will be a challenge. Make sure that the company is providing some credit assistance, otherwise there is little chance of getting approved for a mortgage unless you're putting down 20-30%

The weather is great, humidity is polar opposite from Calgary, and the other thing you'll find is that there's little twilight. Sun goes down and bam, full dark. Nothing like the three or so hours of half light that we get up north.

If there's anything more you'd like to know, bring it up, or drop me a PM.

Mike
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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The commute from Cinco to Greenway Plaza would take about an hour whatever way you go. I-10 isn't too bad, but traffic is a nightmare once you hit the 610 loop to get over to Greenway Plaza. Westpark Tollway is like a parking lot at rush hour. Westheimer is a loooong drive going all the way from Katy to the Galleria, up to 1.5 hours in peak traffic, not to mention the Galleria traffic. I once sat at a light at San Felipe for 20 minutes without moving, it was gridlocked so badly.

The commute from Sugarland wouldn't be much better, distance is shorter but the freeway is slower. Probably a 45 minute to 1 hour commute.

Not much difference in commute. Not much difference in communities, either, both suburbs with the same sort of feel. Good schools, big houses, lots of families. Personally I'd go for Sugarland just because it's a shorter distance to Greenway from there.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Houston (Memorial) and Western NC
8,801 posts, read 14,384,180 times
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How far from Kingwood to Greenway?
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