Ready for a Change of Scenery? 11 Places That Will Pay You to Move There

A woman jogs with the Baltimore skyline behind her.
A woman trots against gusty wind the day after an overnight storm, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Baltimore. Julio Cortez/AP Photo

If you could use a change of scenery, why not get free money to move somewhere?

In the face of declining or slowing population growth, some cities have decided to get aggressive about their survival.

Despite soaring real estate prices in the past few years, there are still cities giving away free land while others are handing out major financial incentives to folks who agree to move to their metropolitan area.

Here are 11 places that really, really want you to move there.

11 Places That Will Pay You to Move There

If you’re looking for a new place to call home, but you don’t have your heart set on a specific area or major cities, we’ve found 11 places — both states overall and specific cities — that are offering deals worth thousands of dollars to entice you to make their communities your home sweet home.

Places that will pay you to move there include:

  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. The Shoals, Alabama
  3. Curtis, Nebraska
  4. Baltimore, Maryland
  5. Newton, Iowa
  6. Hamilton, Ohio
  7. West Virginia
  8. Minnesota
  9. Kansas
  10. Indiana
  11. Alaska

1. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s second largest city is offering to pay remote workers $10,000 cash to relocate there through its Tulsa Remote program.

You’ll get $10,000 upfront cash with a purchase/lease agreement on a home or apartment. And they’ll throw in a 36-month membership at a coworking space so you don’t have work all by your lonesome.

The only requirements are that you must:

  • Be 18 years old;
  • Eligible to work in the U.S.;
  • Be a full-time remote employee or self-employed full-time outside of Oklahoma;
  • Move within the next 12 months;
  • And, you know, want to live in Tulsa.

Click here for the application.

2. The Shoals, Alabama

If you work remotely full-time, make more than $52,000, can move within six months and are 18 or older, then you’re eligible for The Remote Shoals relocation plan. You’re also eligible if you’re self-employed outside of Colbert and Lauderdale counties.

They’ll pay you $10,000 to move there — with 25% coming up front, 25% after six months and the remaining 50% after living in The Shoals area for a year. The Shoals is comprised of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia in northern Alabama and is a two-hour drive from Birmingham, Nashville and Memphis.

3. Curtis, Nebraska

How’d you like to build your dream home — without spending a dime on the land itself?

It’s possible in Curtis, Nebraska.

Construct a home in Curtis within a set amount of time (and according to certain specifications), and you’ll receive the land free. All of the lots come utility ready and are located on paved streets.

And in Curtis, it’s the more the merrier — and more lucrative. The family incentive program awards $500 for the first kid, $750 for two and $1,000 for three or more children who move to the city and enroll in the Medicine Valley Public Schools.

A woman lays on a hill overlooking Baltimore.
Adobe Stock

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Ready to give a little love to an underloved property — and get paid for it?

Baltimore’s Vacants to Value Booster relocation incentive gives $10,000 to buyers of Vacants to Value properties in an effort to address the blight caused by abandonment in the area. The home must be your primary residence, and you must be willing to invest at least $1,000 of your own resources. Also, the $10,000 must go toward your down payment and closing costs.

If that’s not enough reason to move to Old Bay country, the city also has a Buying Into Baltimore program that offers a $5,000 incentive to use toward buying a home anywhere in Baltimore. You must attend a Trolley Tour event to be eligible; 20 individuals are selected on a lottery basis.

Still not convinced? We have two words for you: crab cakes.

5. Newton, Iowa

The Newton Housing Initiative began in 2014 and will last through 2023. It offers individuals who build single-family homes, valued at $190,000 or more, within the city limits of Newton a $10,000 cash incentive plus a “Get to Know Newton” welcome package.

The Newton government’s goal is to create momentum for housing development within the community and to develop and ensure a stable and growing population by having affordable housing readily available.

6. Hamilton, Ohio

If you have student loan debt and have graduated in the last seven years — preferably from a STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, arts or mathematics) — Hamilton, Ohio wants you!

They want you so much that they’re willing to pay you a “reverse scholarship” — a program where recent graduates receive assistance with student loan debt. The Talent Attraction Program scholarship offers up to $10,000 ($300 per month) to recent grads who move to Butler County for employment or are full-time remote workers in a professional role.

7. West Virginia

Through West Virginia’s Ascend program, the state will pay you $12,000 to move there and work remotely for two consecutive years. You’ll also get free access to outdoor recreation for a year, free coworking space and other resources.

You can choose from communities in the beautiful Greenbrier Valley, the lively Morgantown area or the eastern panhandle. The state will even let you give the move a trial run with its “try before you buy” partnership with Airbnb. (Hint: This perk applies to other places too.)

8. Minnesota

Life’s simpler in the Midwest — especially when you can get land for free.

If you build a home within a year of receiving the land’s deed, your new property in New Richland, Minnesota’s Homestake subdivision will be 100% free of charge. Plus, the town’s in proximity to a golf course, lake and bike trails.

Don’t miss the fine print on this one, however. The website states: “You will be assessed for part of the cost to develop your property with streets, curb and gutter and water and sewer. Total estimated cost per lot for development is approximately $25,000.”

There’s also Harmony — known as the “Biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota.”

The town of Harmony will provide home-builders a cash rebate of up to $12,000 to cover costs of construction — and the program has zero age, income or residency restrictions.

The specific rebate amount will depend on the estimated market value of the new or renovated structure.

9. Kansas

Kansas has many cities that would love to show you what they have to offer.

Topeka, which is Kansas’ fifth largest city, features a Choose Topeka program in which they’ll pay you up to $15,000 to work within Shawnee County, or even live there and work remotely, with different restrictions.

If you’re looking for something a little more rural, Lincoln, Kansas, offers free land to qualified new residents. According to its website, you’ll be able to see the buffalo roam from your home on the range, should you take Lincoln up on its offer.

You’ll have to comply with the city’s requirements for building and inhabiting a home within set time parameters. Contact Lincoln City Hall for full details.

Lincoln (pop. 1,209) isn’t the only small, rural Kansas town offering free home sites. If you’re interested in calling Kansas home, check out:

10. Indiana

The Hoosier state also has many cities that would love to be your home.

Grant County’s Grant for Grads program offers up to $7,500 of down payment assistance toward purchasing a home in Grant County, which is located in north central Indiana. The program has some restrictions: You’ll need to work in certain industries to qualify and one-third of the potential $7,500 will need to come from an employer match.

Work from Purdue incentivizes remote workers to come live within the Discovery Park District at Purdue University. “Relocation packages may include up to $4,000 in cash relocation stipends, $1,000 dining credit good in the union’s Atlas Family Marketplace and other housing discounts,” according to their press release,

Over in east Indiana, Muncie hopes to attract 45 new remote workers by 2023 through its relocation program. Fully employed individuals who move to the city using the program will receive a $5,000 stipend.

A road shows a view of mountains in Alaska.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

11. Alaska

Why limit yourself to just one city when Alaska will pay you to live anywhere in their state?

Since 1976, Alaska has paid its residents to live there via its Permanent Fund Dividend. The payouts are funded by Alaska’s oil royalties and are divided up evenly among citizens.

Yearly payouts vary, but the 2022 dividend was $3,284. Not too shabby just for being there!

To be eligible for the rebate, you cannot claim residency in any other state or country. Check out the full details here.

But That’s Not All …

If none of these cities or states strike your fancy and you’re still itching to make a move, check out Make My Move — a website that lists offers from communities willing to pay for new residents with all the details.

As the site says, “Do what you love, from a place that you love.”

Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Deputy editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed.