Did You Know That You Can Actually Get Paid to Move?

by Ben SanfordMarch 26, 2018

Contemporary Homesteading and Other Paid Moving Opportunities

Homesteading! You read that right, homesteading is not dead. It didn’t die with the end of the homesteading act and the bank-to-the-landers of the 1970s. In fact, there are several devoted contemporary homesteaders throughout the U.S. The homesteading act is dead, but its echoes certainly live on.

You may not be able to get free land anywhere in the West through the homestead act any longer, but there are several ways to get paid to move to areas looking to attract new residents and development. This post will show you how to get free land, part of your student loans repaid, and even some free money – just for moving or building a home in a new area.
paid to move

The Midwest

The area most often associated with homesteading (when people have actually heard of homesteading!) are the breadbasket states in the middle of the country. And, true to their reputation, the Midwestern states have the most opportunities for those looking to get paid to relocate.


The state of Kansas will pay off up to fifteen thousand dollars of your student loans (or waive your state income tax for five years) if you are willing to relocate (from out of state) to any of seventy-seven counties in the state that they have designated as Rural Opportunity Zones.


Construct a single-family home that meets “certain specifications” during a “specific time period” in the Roll’n Hills Addition of the town of Curtis, Nebraska and you get the lot you built on for free.
get paid to move midwest


Under the Marne Free Lots program in Marne, Iowa, you can construct a house of at least 1200 square feet (modular or traditional construction) within your first five years on the property and receive the lot you build it on for free. Your house cannot be over two stories tall and your garage can house no less than one, but no more than three automobiles. Certain other restrictions also apply.


Located an hour and a half south of the Twin Cities, Harmony, Minnesota will give you a lot in their Homestake Subdivision for about $12,000 below its actual value. The remaining cost goes to recoup the amount the town has spent on roads, sewers, and other things that you’ll be using. Certain income restrictions apply.

The East Coast

If you consider the middle of the country to be “fly over states,” but still want to get in on the “being paid to move” action, don’t despair. There are three states on the eastern seaboard that have towns looking to pay people to redevelop distressed and other properties.


Baltimore, Maryland (“Charm City”) the largest independent city in the U.S., will pay up to ten grand of your down payment and closing costs if you buy a distressed property in the city through their Vacants to Value Booster program.


Through a variety of programs, the city of New Haven, Connecticut (home to Yale University and all that goes with it) will help new homeowners to the tune of $80,000 through its Neighborhood Housing Services division. You could score as much as $10,000 in a forgivable loan if you’re a first-time buyer, and up to $30,000 in renovation assistance if you’re new home is a fixer.
get paid to move midwest connecticut

The West

Finally, homesteading out west didn’t die when the Homesteading Act did in 1973. Both of the Rocky Mountain states of Wyoming and Colorado have programs that incentivize relocating, and the state of Alaska is famous for paying its residents annually just for promising to stay once they’ve relocated to The Last Frontier.

So whether you’re looking to relocate to a small Midwestern town, a city trying to renew itself on the East Coast, or one of the “frontier” states out West, there are many opportunities to get paid to move. You can take your money in land, cash, or loan forgiveness. So what are you waiting for?

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.