Got Wandering Feet? 12 Places That Will Pay You to Move There
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 12 places that really, really want you to move there.
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:
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- The Shoals, Alabama
- Curtis, Nebraska
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Newton, Iowa
- Hamilton, Ohio
- West Virginia
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 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;
- And, you know, want to live in Tulsa.
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.
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 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 Medicine Valley Public Schools.
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 one word for you: crabcakes.
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 $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 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.)
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 homebuilders a cash rebate of up to $20,000 to cover construction costs — 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.
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:
- Mankato (pop. 895)
- Osborne (pop. 1,508)
- Plainville (pop. 1,673)
- Wilson (pop. 683)
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 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. According to its news release, “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.”
Over in east Indiana, Muncie hopes to attract 45 new remote workers by the end of 2023 through its relocation program. Fully employed individuals who move to the city using the program will receive a $5,000 stipend.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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 contributed.