We have all heard the familiar aphorism, "Home is where the heart is;” for many people, their heart is increasingly finding their home in beautiful, expansive Hill Country, Texas. Indeed, it is no surprise the rolling hills, stunning vistas, and tranquil rural Texan lifestyle of Hill Country attract homebuyers.
While relocating to this scenic heartland can be a thrilling adventure, it can also involve its fair share of unique considerations. If you are interested in investing in homes in Hill Country, Texas, it is essential to be aware of some common challenges people face, if only to make your transition as smooth as possible. Below, we look at some of the typical mistakes people make when moving to this extraordinary area.
Disregarding the weather
Texas, in general, is known for its sweltering heat, especially in the summer months. Luckily, Hill Country is often a few degrees cooler than other parts of Texas, but it is still crucial to be prepared for these intense months. A high-quality air conditioner in your new home is a must. Because of how routinely you will use it, go for a unit with energy-efficient settings to help keep electricity costs down during those peak summer months. Also, consider adding window film or shades to help keep out some of the heat, and, of course, make sure your home is well insulated. Along these same lines, pick up a reliable hat, sunscreen, and lightweight, breathable clothing for when you go outside. A sizable, insulated water bottle should similarly become your constant companion to stay hydrated during the day's heat.
When it comes to springtime in Hill Country, expect stormy weather, including the occasional tornado or flash flood. So make sure to stormproof your property, install storm windows and doors, secure loose items around your yard (these could become projectiles in high winds), and even consider investing in a storm shelter or safe room. Also, take time to familiarize yourself with the local weather warnings and evacuation procedures; pick up a good weather radio or install a weather alert app on your smartphone. These can be beneficial to keep up with sudden weather changes.
While Hill Country winters are generally mild, occasional cold fronts can mean freezing temperatures and even the rare snow or ice storm. The Bruta, Texas, cold front of 2021 comes to mind. To prepare for this, ensure your home heating system is up to par and you have some warm clothing on hand.
The importance of water conservation
The first step might seem unorthodox, but it is precious — recognize the value of water. It is all too easy to take this resource for granted, especially if you come from an area where water is easily accessible and abundant. However, in Hill Country, water conservation is necessary, and being mindful of your water usage is the entire community's responsibility.
Invest in water-efficient appliances for your new home, including low-flow toilets, faucets, showerheads, Energy Star-rated dishwashers, and washing machines, which also greatly reduce your water usage. A tankless water heater, which heats water only when needed, would be another great investment to conserve water and energy.
Consider incorporating xeriscaping, which minimizes water use by employing native and drought-tolerant plants accustomed to the local climate. These can thrive with minimal watering. Also, consider using a rain barrel to collect and store rainwater for watering your plants or washing your car. Additionally, small changes can make a huge difference in water conservation, such as taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, repairing leaky pipes promptly, and electing only to run your dishwasher or washing machine with full loads.
It would be best if you also acquainted yourself with your local water utility's conservation measures, often including watering schedules and restrictions. These rules are fundamental during stretches of drought and are designed to ensure the sustainable use of water in the community.
Join the community
Similarly, dig into a hugely vital aspect of the local community: its food! BBQ, Tex-Mex, and fried foods are beloved staples in the Texas Hill Country. While the local cuisine might differ from what you are used to, not sampling the local fare would be a mistake. Embrace the local cuisine; you will undoubtedly encounter many new, favorite dishes.