San Antonio is a popular place to call home, even by the numbers. Beyond its famous landmarks that attract 31 million visitors every year, San Antonio is the second most populous city in Texas, after Houston.
It’s a sought-after place to visit and an even more welcoming place to call home.
If you’re thinking about moving to San Antonio, we created this checklist to help ensure your move is as smooth and straightforward as possible.
Is San Antonio the City for You?
It’s not easy to relocate to a new city. You must take on a lot of unknown unknowns, make new friends, and get to know an entirely new collection of roads, businesses, and local culture.
Fortunately, San Antonio has a little bit for everyone. The city offers a mix of luxury, affordable, and mid-market homes. Houses are available in bustling downtown, in quiet suburbs outside the city, and many places between.
Retirees have the convenience of numerous golf courses throughout the famous Hill Country and young families enjoy proximity to Seaworld, The Doseum, and Six Flags.
Not to mention, San Antonio is home to many famous Texas sites, including the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the Natural Bridge Caverns.
When it comes to day to day offerings, San Antonio has a lot to offer. There are reputable schools throughout the area, ranging from preschool through university. In fact, Saint Mary’s University of San Antonio and Trinity University appeared in US News article about the best universities in Texas.
San Antonio of course offers all the standard big-city amenities, like your choice in grocery stores, local parks, libraries, and diverse retail shops.
While one section along the Riverwalk is year-round busy with tourists, many don’t know that the fun goes on for miles and miles. It’s easy to find a quiet, river-front restaurant or bar as long as you look outside the main tourism district.
San Antonio’s great eateries extend beyond its winding river. Destinations like the Pearl District host a blend of restaurants, featuring fresh pastries, gourmet American cuisine, local beer and wine, and much more. Saint Mary Street is another popular area for drinks.
Buying a Home In San Antonio
Buying a home is a very exciting life step. It is also an extensive process with many steps.
As you enter the San Antonio market, it’s helpful to keep a visual reminder of the steps you still have to take, and those you’ve already completed. We’ve provided this San Antonio moving checklist for you to save online or even print out and hang on your refrigerator.
Hope this helps!
The Home Search
Finding a home in San Antonio starts with knowing your goals and using the best local real estate resources.
Start building your credit months -- if not years -- before you enter the real estate market. A great credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
Save for the downpayment and closing costs: recommended down payments are 20% of the home’s value and closing costs can be about 5% of the home’s value.
Get pre-approval for a mortgage from your bank.
Research savings opportunities: first time homebuyers, for example, can enjoy benefits that simplify the purchase.
Create a list of priorities for your ideal home. Make sure to include:
Number of rooms and bathrooms
Part of town
Fixer-upper vs. move-in ready
Design / layout
Number of floors
Type of home (standard house, duplex, etc.)
Distance from downtown
Attend open houses.
Visit properties with your agent.
The Home Offer Process
Once you find a house or property that you love, here are some best practices for getting your bid noticed, even if you’re competing against other homebuyers.
Write a personal letter to the existing homeowners to explain your plans for the home: you might say it will be the place you raise your kids, a convenient location for your work, that it would be your first home, or a place to retire, etc. Personal notes can go a long way.
Consult your real estate agent about competing for the bid. Real estate markets are constantly fluctuating. Your agent should be able to tell you whether an area or home has a lot of competition, how long the home has been on market, and more.
Research how much comparable homes have recently sold for in the area.
Speak with neighbors to learn more about the neighborhood.
Add conditions to your offer that ensure the home passes proper inspections.
Give an offer for the home.
Expect and respond to a counter offer. Most homeowners won’t accept your first offer. Instead, they’ll send a counter-offer, which is a price somewhere between your offer and the original listing price. You can, in turn, respond with another offer or accept their new price. The two parties may go back and forth until both of you come to an agreement.
Making The Purchase
Your lender and agent will make sure nothing critical is skipped during the home buying process, but it’s good to know what’s going on anyway. Here’s what will take place as you finalize the purchase:
Hire an inspector to assess the home.
Your lender coordinates all paperwork with a title company.
Conduct a final walkthrough 24 hours before closing day.
Receive final approval for your mortgage.
Pay the down payment.
Pay all closing costs.
Sign the paperwork and home title.
Receive the key and move in on the agreed-upon day.
Call to turn on your electricity at least a few days before you need it turned on. Local utility companies may need a few days to get to your home, which means you shouldn’t count on same-day power activation.
Start packing boxes at least a week before your move. This can make moving day simpler because all you have to do is move the boxes into a truck.
Avoid buying new household items during the move. Often we forget what we own while its boxed away. Plus, when you change your address, you may receive coupons in the mail for the item you need.
Label all sealed boxes with their destination: “kitchen,” “master bath,” “family room,” etc.
Change your mailing address.
Change your billing zip code.
Get Used To Life in San Antonio
Now that you’re finally settled, it’s time to discover what makes your new neighborhood so wonderful. Here are some activities to accomplish in your first few months:
Eat out at a locally-owned restaurant.
Start going places where you can make friends: networking events, local churches, special events at bars and restaurants.
Meet some of your neighbors: make an effort to introduce yourself by joining apps like Nextdoor, saying “hello” to neighbors passing by, and maybe even knocking on someone’s door.
Find a regular activity that gets you out of the house.
See at least one famous San Antonio destination: the Alamo, the Riverwalk, Japanese Tea Garden, Six Flags, The Bridge Caverns, and the Farmers Market at Pearl District are just a few great options.