Houston Movers’ Texas Post-Move Relocation Guide

Houston Movers’ Texas Post-Move Relocation Guide

With more than two million residents, the Houston metro area is the fourth largest in the country. This is a beautiful, eclectic, and active city that provides residents with incredible job opportunities and plenty of culture and recreation to enjoy in their free time. If you’re moving here, you’ll find that there is a lot to love! Plus, you will be a short drive away from Galveston, Kemah and other Gulf Coast locations. However, before you can get fully settled in and enjoy all that Houston offers, you will need to tackle a few important post-moving tasks.

One perk of living in Houston is proximity to the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast.
One perk of living in Houston is proximity to the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast.

Relocation can be tricky. Even after you’ve done all the packing, moved everything and started tackling the mountain of boxes that need unpacking, there are still lots of other moving-related things to get done. Our friends at Cheap Movers Houston, one of the top moving companies Houston has, helped us put together a list of some of these to-dos. Here is their guide to completing your Houston relocation:

Update Your Insurance Policy

Your insurance provides you and your loved ones with incredible benefits and financial protection. You may have life, auto, and home or renter’s insurance as well as other types of coverage. Make a list of all your insurers, and change your address with each one. Remember that your premiums may change for your auto and property insurance because of your change of address. Here are some great tips for updating insurance during a move.

Get a New Driver’s License

You will also need to make your residency in Houston official by requesting a new driver’s license. Texas driver’s licenses are issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. There are several DPS offices located in convenient locations throughout the Houston area. Ensure that you bring the proper documentation with you to the DPS by reviewing the requirements online as a first step.

You'll soon learn that in Texas, high school football is a big deal, no matter where your child is enrolled.
You’ll soon learn that in Texas, high school football is a big deal, no matter where your child is enrolled.

Notify the Post Office

It is important that you continue to receive all your mail, and the post office can facilitate this process. You can simply visit the post office’s website to file a change of address or mail forwarding form. This will provide you with mail forwarding service for several months. When you get mail that has been forwarded to your new address, take the time to contact each sender individually to notify them of your new address.

Contact Your Creditors and Financial Institutions

You should also make a list of all the creditors and banks that you do business with. This may include credit card companies, your auto loan lender, the bank where you have a checking and savings account, your stock brokerage or retirement account broker and more. For many of these companies, you will be able to access your account online and update the information yourself in a matter of minutes. Simply go down your list item by item to ensure that all your financial contacts have updated contact information for you.

Enroll Your Kids in School

If you have children, you will need to enroll them in a local school. There are several very reputable private schools throughout the metro area, or you can choose to send your kids to public school. Because of the size of the metro area, there are numerous independent school districts including the Houston Independent School District, the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, and the Katy Independent School District, among others. You can ask your landlord or real estate agent which public schools your home is zoned for, and you can research registration documentation required by visiting that school district’s website. Typically, a birth certificate, proof of residency, and immunization records are all that is needed to enroll a child in a new school.

Life in Texas can be amazing, and most Texans would not choose to live in any other location. Walk through these simple post-moving steps, and you can sit back and relax as an official Texan.

 

Top 5 Festivals to Catch in Austin This Year

Top 5 Festivals to Catch in Austin This Year

The city of Austin, Texas is packed with fun festivals that are held throughout the year. For the best events that you simply can’t miss, here are our top five picks that are guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind experience.

1. Kite Festival

Come and watch hundreds of kites dance across the sky at this fun spring event! Scheduled for March 5th, 2017 (with a rain date of March 12th), the annual Kite Festival will take place on the Zilker Park Great Lawn and is free for anyone to attend. Participants will have a chance to enter the exciting annual kite contest along with several other competitions during the day. To obtain a kite, you can either make one yourself, purchase a kite from an onsite vendor, or create one in the kite making workshop that is held on the day of the festival.

Although admission is free, be sure to bring extra cash for food, souvenirs, and kids activities that are offered on the festival grounds, which include face painting, balloon art, carnival games, inflatable houses, and rock climbing. You can also donate cash to help support various non-profit groups.

2. Earth Day Festival

The annual Earth Day Festival will take place on April 22nd, 2017 and is full of educational and lively entertainment. Children will love the Outdoor Activity Zone, where kids can try out a trampoline, climbing wall, and electric bikes. They’ll also enjoy the festival’s Kids Zone, which features fun options for children to mingle with musicians and wildlife. At the Zen Zone, adult attendees can relax with meditation, acupuncture, yoga, and crafts. The Renewables Marketplace is also a fascinating exhibit for adults and features many revealing energy innovations. The festival will also serve delicious food and have live entertainment, demos, workshops, and panel discussions. Admission is free for all to attend and will be located at the Huston-Tillotson University.

The annual Earth Day Festival is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy.
The annual Earth Day Festival is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy.

3. Pecan Street Festival

This art, craft, and music festival is one of the largest in Central Texas and is thrown by the Pecan Street Association. Located on Sixth Street with free admission to all, this festival features hundreds of beautifully handcrafted goods, such as clothing, jewelry, and candles, and hosts over 50 of Austin’s most talented musicians with concerts and shows. Children will be thrilled by the petting zoo, carnival, street magicians, and face painting, and with over 30 food vendors to choose from, is a great place to spend an entire day with family. By attending this festival on May 6th or 7th, 2017, you’ll help preserve the Sixth Street Historic District, with all funding used for its maintenance and beautification.

4. Ice Cream Festival

With delicious ice cream and exciting events, what more could you want from an Austin festival? Taking place on August 12th, 2017 at the Fiesta Gardens, the annual Ice Cream Festival raises support for local charities while spooning out tasty treats! Proceeds from the event go to many Austin nonprofits, such at the Austin Children’s Shelter and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. And with contests such as ice cream eating, popsicle stick sculpting, and homemade ice cream recipes, this yummy festival can be enjoyed by all! Admission is $10 for entry (free for children age 8 and under), with free ice cream included.

Who wouldn't want to eat scoop after scoop of hot fudge sundaes at the annual Ice Cream Festival?
Who wouldn’t want to eat scoop after scoop of hot fudge sundaes at the annual Ice Cream Festival?

5. Austin City Limits Festival

The Austin City Limits Festival is an exciting 3-day event that features several musical acts from all around the globe. With over 110 shows, several family-friendly activities, and award-winning cuisine that caters to gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets, the festival is a hit for attendees of all ages. And with artists mingling with crowds and hosting free giveaways, it’s a great spot for those who are fans of today’s music scene. Festival goers can choose to attend the event at Zilker Park on either Weekend 1 or 2 (October 6th-8th or 13th-15th, 2017) and can purchase a General Admission ticket for $119.

FAQs About Owning and Selling Property with Mineral Rights

FAQs About Owning and Selling Property with Mineral Rights

The United States stands out as one of the few nations where ownership of mineral rights can be a big deal for property owners, especially in oil-rich areas like Texas. Unlike in most countries, U.S. property owners retain full ownership of any valuable resources below the surface of their property. While the term “mineral rights” is used to cover all resources, these could include actual minerals like gold or copper, and oil, natural gas or coal. Property owners have some big decisions to make if they find valuable resources on their land, and it is worth thoroughly understanding and exploring all the options. If you’re one of the lucky Texas landowners sitting on oil and gas reserves, here are some FAQs related to monetizing those mineral rights.

What’s the Difference Between Surface and Mineral Rights?

One important distinction in the law is the difference between surface and mineral rights. Surface rights pertain to what is placed on the land or done on the surface of the land. This includes the placement of structures, agricultural fields and so forth. Mineral rights pertain only to the valuable minerals below the surface. It may be possible for ownership of these rights to be different on the same piece of land.

In Texas, oil is big business. As the state that produces the most oil and gas, our ports are always busy exporting natural resources to other parts of the country.
In Texas, oil is big business. As the state that produces the most oil and gas, our ports are always busy exporting natural resources to other parts of the country.

This distinction means that an owner may sell or lease mineral rights without technically selling or leasing surface rights. This distinction also makes it possible to sell the mineral rights and the surface land at different times. However, the drilling company will likely still use at least some of the surface land for the placement of rigs and equipment (and they have the legal right to do so). Most companies will probably demand both surface and mineral rights at the same time.

One exception is if the drilling company can access the resources horizontally from a neighboring parcel. For example, a mine may be able to reach underground across multiple surface lots. In this case, the drilling company may not demand surface rights but can still access the resources.

What Does it Mean to Sell My Mineral Rights?

The simplest option when you discover resources on your land is to sell mineral rights to a company that will extract them. Selling gives up all ownership of the rights and any potential future profit in exchange for a large one-time payment. This gives the owner a large and low-risk payout, but they potentially lose a large amount of additional income they could get from a lease and royalties.

Is Leasing Mineral Rights Better?

A property owner also has the option to lease mineral rights instead of selling them. This has a higher risk, but generally bigger ultimate payouts.

Leasing generates continuous income in two ways. First, the company must pay the actual lease amount, which is simply rent for the land rights and entirely separate from any extraction. Second, the company must pay royalties to the mineral rights holder for all the profit from their extraction. This could generate a large amount of income for a very long time depending on the profitability of the deposit.

The downside to leasing is that it could also amount to very little income. There is no guarantee that the company will ever begin extraction. They may pay for a small lease term to survey the land and ultimately decide never to extract. The lease will end, and the owner will have missed out on the larger payment they could have gotten by selling.

Be aware that drilling for oil on your property could reduce its value.
Be aware that drilling for oil on your property could reduce its value.

How Can Extracting Minerals Affect My Property Value?

A landowner should also be aware of the effect of extraction operations on the future property value and all surrounding property values. In general, any extraction operation will decrease property value. Certain types of operation will have more effect. Fracking may result in a large decrease in property value.

It is important to be prepared for negotiation with a company that is interested in purchasing mineral rights. While laws exist to protect landowners, it still takes knowledge and understanding to get the best deal and to realize the full potential of this opportunity.

 

Why Austin Businesses Need to Consider Doing SEO

Why Austin Businesses Need to Consider Doing SEO

If you’re the owner of a small business in Austin and don’t have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing strategy, now is the time to act! While there was a time in the past when businesses flourished without an online marketing campaign, the consumer landscape has drastically changed over the years, and local SEO is becoming essential to a company’s success and sales. If you’re still not convinced that your company needs an online presence, here are some important reasons why Austin businesses need to consider implementing SEO.

SEO is Key to Austin Businesses

Rather than combing through the phone book, this Austin company says people now turn to search engines when looking for local shops and restaurants. For example, someone looking for Texas wineries would likely search “wineries Texas” or “Texas vineyards”. Searches specific to an area and industry are often referred to as “keywords“. Any particular business niche will have a number of keywords that consumers use when looking for a particular service or product. It’s important for your business to show up in the search engine results for these keywords if you want to be found by potential customers. Just how important are rankings? An estimated 90% or more of Google users won’t look past the first page of Google’s results. Since there are just 7-10 spots on the first page, competition can be pretty fierce. The great news is, if you do rank in one of these top spots, you’re likely to have a lot more traffic to your website than competitors who don’t rank as well.

Mobile Devices

More and more customers are using mobile devices to search for restaurants, coffee shops, doctor’s offices, pet stores, and many other businesses. If you don’t have an SEO strategy in place, your company could get left out of these searches. Your competition will most likely snatch away any potential clients with the digital marketing that they’re bound to be using. With people using numerous types of mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets, Moonraker SEO says your company’s website will need to be formatted and responsive to many different types of technology. Recently, Google has started rewarding sites that have adopted the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) strategy in their SEO campaigns. This tool renders content very quickly on various mobile devices, making it user-friendly to search from mobile.

Voice Search and Smart Home Speakers

Two major highlights of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas were the release of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home smart speakers, which are meant for household use. Voice search and voice control are the two main features of these devices, which require new SEO techniques that ensure optimal placement.

With more customers using mobile devices, your company will need to adopt new SEO tactics.
With more customers using mobile devices, your company will need to adopt new SEO tactics.

For example, let’s say that a homeowner in Austin places a request for a pizza delivery through an Amazon Echo. Although the customer could choose a chain restaurant to order their meal, they could also try some local options by asking the virtual assistant for pizza shops in the area. Any stores that haven’t optimized their company for voice searches will be excluded, and the customer won’t have a chance to see or place an order, causing those businesses to miss out on sales.

Social Media Platforms

Along with creating a welcoming website that is formatted for different devices and voice searches, your company also needs to focus on a social media marketing campaign. In today’s online world of consumers, a strong social media presence has the potential boost a company’s bottom line. If you’re planning on introducing a new product or service this year to your clients, you should start with sharing the information on Facebook or Twitter before sending out emails or newsletters.

Now, more than ever having a digital marketing strategy is a must in order to capture the attention of customers turning to the web to find local shops and restaurants. As a part of your SEO strategy, make sure to include additional measures like optimizing your site for mobile and using social media to your advantage.

6 Reasons You Should Move to Austin at Least Once in Your Life

6 Reasons You Should Move to Austin at Least Once in Your Life

Those who have just moved out of your parents’ house, graduated from college, or have been on your own for a few years may be craving a change of scenery. And if you’re looking to meet new people and experience a different culture than what you’re used to, try moving to the city of Austin, Texas. With big city attractions, a small town feel, and plenty to keep you on your toes, it’s the perfect place to discover more about yourself and your surroundings. To learn more about why everyone should move to Austin at least once in their lives, read on!

1. The Music Scene

With over 250 live venues, the city of Austin has a diverse and vibrant music scene. With regular concerts at dive bars, coffee shops, outdoor patios, and night clubs, everyone who lives in Austin is bound to connect with local artists and musicians. The city even hosts exciting music festivals like SXSW and ACL that attract thousands of visitors and the biggest names in music.

2. Tasty Cuisine

The city of Austin is famous for its various takes on tacos, and you don’t have to walk further than a block or two to find delicious tacos for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are also popular BBQ joints, such as Franklin Barbecue, that serve southern-style briskets and pulled pork dishes. With an abundance of fusion food trucks that are parked around every corner and fresh new restaurants that are eager to tease your taste buds, Austin is the perfect place to develop your inner-foodie.

Truck
Austin has countless food trucks located all over the city.

3. Technology Hub

Also known as “Silicon Hills,” Austin has a thriving technology culture. If you’re interested in starting a career in the growing field of technology, it’s the perfect place to find a job. And with companies such as Apple, Google, and Dell moving their headquarters to the city, you can guarantee that Austin is at the forefront of what’s coming next in the world of technology.

4. Natural Beauty

The city of Austin is surrounded by beautiful hills, rolling prairies, and deep caves that provide plenty of outdoor activities. You can go spelunking in one of the many nearby caverns or take a hike to glimpse stunning views from the top of Mount Bonnell. Austin also boasts Zilker Park, the city’s biggest playground, and a botanical garden that is perfect for exploring on a sunny afternoon. The best part is that you can count on the weather being warm and sunny almost all year round, which means you can kayak or paddle board whenever the mood strikes!

Exhibition
Discover a world of art and culture within the city of Austin.

5. Art Culture

Due to its booming art and creative culture, Austin’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” With numerous art galleries, museums, and exhibitions, you’ll find many local artists to meet and befriend here, while also discovering what kind of art best suits your tastes. You can also see evidence of the city’s creativity in the many colorful and interesting examples of street art found around town.

6. Diverse Population

People flock to Austin for all sorts of reasons: to attend the University of Texas, check out the many music festivals, find a new career, and more. You’re bound to meet new people with many different backgrounds from this diverse group. With a culture that prides itself with open minds, artistic visions, and new ideas, Austin is a great place to find friends that will last you a lifetime.

Moving to Austin

The city of Austin is rapidly growing and changing, and now’s a great time to get in on the action. As you contemplate your move to the capital city, make sure you have Austin’s best moving company by your side. Moving can be a challenge, but with professionals handling the logistics, your Austin relocation is bound to go smoothly. From carefully packing your boxes and loading the moving truck, to transporting your goods and reassembling furniture, Apple Movers is the premier full-service mover in Austin, helping Austinites move since 1991! To speak with an agent or request a free quote, contact them today:

Apple Moving
9807 Brown Ln
Austin, TX 78754
(512) 452-0399

Your Guide to the Best of Austin Nightlife

Your Guide to the Best of Austin Nightlife

If you’re visiting the city of Austin, Texas, get ready for an exciting night on the town! Known as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, you’ll find outdoor concerts, music festivals, and other performances around the city on a nightly basis. And with excellent cuisine, fun bars, artisanal breweries, and theater events, there’s never a dull moment on the city streets. With so many fantastic venues to visit, it can be tough to narrow down a selection for a weekend trip. But to help you out, here’s our guide to the best of Austin nightlife.

6th Street

The most well-known and boisterous district of Austin is the 6th Street stretch from Congress Avenue to Highway 35. Here you’ll find many students from neighboring universities, and for those who enjoy a party ambiance with crowds that tend to be young, loud, and enthusiastic, this is the place to be! Try stopping by Parish for rock, reggae, and funk live music sets or the Blind Pig Pub for a night of dancing and drinking.

Warehouse District

For those who are looking for a sophisticated night in downtown Austin, head to the Warehouse District, located just west of the central business center. With handcrafted cocktails, elegant restaurants, and a more mature and educated crowd, this district is perfect for special gatherings, anniversaries, or a high-class night out. Swing by The Ginger Man for a mix of traditional pub drinks and new craft brews and visit the Roosevelt Room for fancy cocktails, tasty charcuterie and cheese boards, plus heavenly desserts.

Enjoy an elegant night on the town in the Warehouse District.
Enjoy an elegant night on the town in the Warehouse District.

South Congress Avenue

South Congress Avenue, also known as SoCo, is an attractive, tree-lined part of town that has a comfortable and laid-back atmosphere. There are many dive bars, bistros, and craft breweries in the district, and if you arrive at the lake at twilight, you can see the famous bats of Austin take off into the night sky. Be sure to head to The Continental Club to hear some country, jazz, and blues tunes or visit the Saxon Pub for live music with an intimate and cozy atmosphere.

University of Texas

The University of Texas is part of the heart and soul of Austin. And for those who love having fun with others while enjoying quality brews and music, the university’s area offers a number of venues that have become a part of Texas’ cultural history. The Cactus Cafe has a national reputation for incredible acoustic sets and The Hole in the Wall hosts daily music shows. Both venues are popular among locals and are ideal for listening to live performances.

The University of Texas has a fun bar scene that can be enjoyed by all.
The University of Texas has a fun bar scene that can be enjoyed by all.

East Side

For a more funky, offbeat, and alternative experience, we recommend checking out the East Side of Austin. Here you’ll find a quirky energy that drives the many eclectic bars, cafes, and food trucks, along with a hip and edgy crowd. Head on over to Kitty Cohen’s for specialty drinks and punches while lounging poolside or visit the Hard Luck Lounge for a grunge scene complete with jukeboxes and pool tables.

Rainey Street

If you’ve always wanted to visit a speakeasy, Rainy Street is the place for you. Located off of Cesar Chavez Boulevard, you’ll find many cool bars in this district that are perfect for a laid-back evening out with friends. Visit the Victorian house turned cocktail lounge of Icenhauer’s, where you can sip handcrafted drinks and listen to live music. And for a cozy ambiance with dim lighting and rustic (yet elegant) decor, head to the fashionable Clive Bar for homemade cocktails and brews.