Got Wandering Feet? 12 Places That Will Pay You to Move There

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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.

Most of the incentives are offered to people already in the workforce, maybe working remotely, and earning at least $50k or more a year.

Need help finding a professional mover to help you relocate? Check out move.org to find the best long distance moving companies.

Here are 12 places that really, really want you to move there.

5 Companies That Send People Money When They’re Asked Nicely

When you log into your bank account, how do your savings look? Probably not as good as you’d like.

It always seems like an uphill battle to build (and keep) a decent amount in savings. But what if your car breaks down, or you have a sudden medical bill?

Ask one of these companies to help….

12 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 12 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. Kentucky
  4. Baltimore, Maryland
  5. Newton, Iowa
  6. Hamilton, Ohio
  7. West Virginia
  8. Columbus, Georgia
  9. Kansas
  10. Indiana
  11. Alaska
  12. Michigan

An added incentive is that several of the programs work with Airbnb so people can come sample the city before deciding to move.

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.

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You’ll get $10,000 cash in the form of relocation expenses, a monthly stipend, and the rest at the end of the year. And they’ll throw in a 36-month membership at a coworking space so you don’t have to 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;
  • Have not lived in Oklahoma in the previous 12 months;
  • And, you know, want to live in Tulsa.

Apply here. 

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 upfront, 25% after six months and the remaining 50% after living in The Shoals area for a year. The Shoals comprises Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia in northern Alabama and is a two-hour drive from Birmingham, Nashville and Memphis and boasts a low cost of living, low property taxes and affordable real estate.

3. Kentucky

Owensboro is about halfway in between St. Louis, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee, banking the Ohio River. It offers a $5,000 relocation bonus and other incentives. At least seven other Kentucky municipalities offer incentives as well.

Mayfield and Graves County have a fun bonus with their cash and other incentives — a dozen fresh locally sourced eggs every month. Frankfort and Paducah also offer perks. Frankfort throws some bourbon in with the incentives. Paducah waives 2% payroll taxes for a year. It is designated a world class creative city by The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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

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.

Baltimore also has a partnership with over 100 employers with its Live Near Your Work incentive program. The program matches employer grants, providing a total between $1,000-5,000 toward a down payment or closing costs to buy a home in Baltimore.

Still not convinced? We have one word for you: crabcakes.

5. Newton, Iowa

The Newton Housing Initiative began in 2014 and will last through 2026. It offers individuals who build single-family homes, valued at $240,000 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! It’s just about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, so a big city is close by.

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 $15,000 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, the Eastern Panhandle, Greater Elkins or New River Gorge. The state will even let you give the move a trial run with its “try before you buy” partnership with Airbnb.

A canoe sits on a lake in Minnesota.
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8. Columbus, Georgia

Columbus is Georgia’s second most populated city, located in Western Georgia. Its Make My Move program provides incentives for remote workers to relocate there. Not only does it provide a $5,000 cash incentive to move and stay there, it adds memberships to multiple organizations so you can build community belonging. It also gives you two nights in a hotel so you can come and check Columbus out.

9. Kansas

Kansas has many cities (at least nine) 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 it will 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, the county of 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 County for full details.

Lincoln (pop. 2,899) 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. There are more than 30 programs encouraging people to move to Indiana in cities such as Muncie, South Bend and Noblesville.

Muncie hopes to attract new remote workers through its relocation program. Fully employed individuals who move to the city using the program will receive a $5,000 stipend. Those who move to Muncie will also gain access to a coworking space, the Ball State University library and a semester-long Rec Fit pass at Ball State University.

A road shows a view of mountains in Alaska.
A view of Chena Hot Springs Road in Fairbanks, Alaska. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

11. Alaska

Why limit yourself to just one city when Alaska will pay you to live anywhere in the 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 residents.

Yearly payouts vary, but the 2023 dividend was $1,312. 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.

12. Michigan

Muskegon County, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, northwest of Grand Rapids, offers a lifestyle package of relocation incentives for people. Jackson County, west of Ann Arbor, also has lifestyle incentives and an option for $25,000 in downpayment assistance.

The Move to Michigan program is currently closed to new applications, but it’s worth keeping an eye on in the future. The program offers quite a few sweet perks for remote workers who are willing to move to southwest Michigan, a beautiful coastal area only 90 miles from Chicago. Be sure to check the details on this one, as there are a lot of restrictions.

They’ll pay you up to $15,000 toward a new home, plus you can pick two other bonus perks from a list of eight, which includes one year of car service to and from regional airports, an annual membership to Renaissance Athletic Club and a free coworking space for one year.

Looking to switch up your job as well? Here are 17 companies offering sign-on bonuses from $100 to $10,000.

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.

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

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Robert Bruce is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering earning, saving and managing money. He has written about personal finance for more than a decade.

Deputy Editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors and freelancer Dennis Lynch contributed. 

5 Companies That Send People Money When They’re Asked Nicely

When you log into your bank account, how do your savings look? Probably not as good as you’d like. It always seems like an uphill battle to build (and keep) a decent amount in savings.

But what if your car breaks down, or you have a sudden medical bill?

Ask one of these companies to help….