8 States and Towns That (Really, Really) Want to Give You Cash or Free Land

Some places have a hard time attracting professionals and new homeowners. These are the states and towns willing to pay you to move there.

Places That Will Pay You to Move There
Updated May 13, 2024
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There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with where you call home for you to want to see what it’s like to live somewhere new. You might be considering a quiet town, a bustling city, or even an entirely new state. But one of the main reasons people aren’t able to take that leap is the simple fact that moving is expensive.

But what if the costs of moving were covered? Better yet, what if you were paid to move to that quiet town, bustling city, or unfamiliar state?

Places all over the country are doing just that. From the plains of Tulsa, OK to the Green Mountains of Vermont, cities and states are putting programs in place to attract professionals to the best jobs, often in the form of cash or free lots of land.

If these incentives are all you need to take a leap and try living in a new place, here are nine places you should consider — because they’ll literally pay you to move there.


If you work remotely, you may be able to take advantage of Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program, which was put in place by the Vermont Legislature to encourage professionals to move to the “Green Mountain State.” The state offers financial incentives to full-time, remote workers who move to Vermont on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

You must become a full-time Vermont resident and have incurred costs for moving to Vermont in order to be eligible. The program can reimburse applicants up to $5,000 per year for up to two years, but households are limited to only one Remote Worker Grant per year. So, if you and your spouse or significant other both work remotely, only one of you is eligible to cash in each year.

Applications will be accepted until funds run out, and the grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Completed applications can be sent to remoteworker@vermont.gov.

How moving here pencils out

Vermont was ranked No. 8 on CNBC’s 2017 list of the U.S.’s most expensive states to live in. And for the 2018 tax year, the state had one of the highest state income taxes in the country — at 8.95%. While the incentive to move here is enticing, you should make sure the cost of living isn’t too high based on your existing income.

Tulsa, OK

Remote workers will also find incentives to move to Oklahoma’s second-largest city. Tulsa Remote, a program designed to encourage remote workers to come work in the city, launched in 2018 and gives participants $10,000 cash for relocating. Not only that, participants will also get a space at 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s top coworking community in the downtown area. The $10,000 is split up between relocation expenses, a monthly stipend, and the remaining amount when you’ve stayed for a full year.

To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, eligible to work in the U.S., have full-time remote employment, and be able to move to Tulsa within six months of being accepted into the program. Participants for 2019 have already been selected, but you can sign up for updates on when 2020 applications open. Even one of FinanceBuzz’s own team members, Brandon Neth, took advantage of this program — he moved to Tulsa just this year.

How moving here pencils out

Oklahoma was ranked No. 2 on CNBC’s 2019 list of least expensive states to live in, so cost of living shouldn’t be much of an issue. While the incentives are a nice bonus, the city’s affordability means you can make your already existing paycheck go even further.

Hamilton, OH

Hamilton’s Talent Attraction Program Scholarship gives recent graduates up to $10,000 to help with student loan debt if they move to the city of Hamilton. You must have graduated within the last seven years from a program focused in science, technology, engineering, the arts, or mathematics (a STEAM program).

The scholarship will be paid out monthly in $300 increments. The city also wants “those with a desire to give back to the community and become engaged in activities.” You’ll need to provide proof of employment either in the city of Hamilton or Butler County. Per the website, applications are reviewed on a monthly/quarterly basis.

How moving here pencils out

According to Salary.com, the cost of living in Hamilton, Ohio, is 13.2% lower than the national average. Ohioans also pay a state tax rate of 7.17%, which puts it at about average. If you’re a recent graduate looking to start a new career in a thriving region, Hamilton might be a great fit. Not only is it affordable, but the city is also adding thousands of new jobs as companies expand to the area.

Mankato, KS

The City of Mankato, located in Northern Central Kansas, offers those looking for a small-town feel the chance to receive a free lot of land for the construction of a new home. Per the website, there are currently 26 lots available on a “beautiful horseshoe shaped drive on the east side of the community,” about a half-mile from the community’s shopping center.

To receive a free lot, you’ll need to submit an application with all your personal information and home plans to the zoning board, and you’ll also need to be interviewed by the city council. Construction must begin within six months of receiving the lot, and your new home must be a single-family home no smaller than 1,200 square feet (excluding your basement, garage, and porches).

You can contact the City of Mankato at 785-378-3141 regarding an application.

How moving here pencils out

CNBC ranked Kansas as the eighth-least-expensive place to live in the U.S. for 2019. More specifically, the city of Mankato has a 25.2% lower cost of living than the national average. Free land in one of the most affordable places to live? If you’re looking to settle down, this might be a great money-saving opportunity.


Maine is offering graduates reimbursement for their student loan payments if they move to the state. The Opportunity Maine Tax Credit initially applied to graduates of Maine colleges, but the program has since been expanded to include graduates from anywhere in the U.S. who graduated after 2015.

The tax credit you’ll receive depends on a few factors, such as the year you graduated, degree type, and major. To get the credit, you’ll have to submit the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit Worksheet when you file your Maine income tax return. Funds will first be applied to your income tax, and depending on certain criteria, you’ll receive a check in the mail for the remainder.

How moving here pencils out

According to U.S. News & World Report’s affordability rankings, Maine sits at No. 33. While it’s not the most affordable state to live in, it’s not the most expensive either. The reimbursement will keep money in your pocket, which is helpful for recent graduates with entry-level employment. But make sure the cost of living isn’t too much for your current situation.

Harmony, MN

Harmony, a little city with a small-town atmosphere, is looking to “spur new construction and community growth” by offering a cash rebate for new construction. For those who build a new home in Harmony, the Economic Development Authority will provide a cash rebate that ranges from $5,000 to $12,000. There are no restrictions and no age, income, or residency limitations.

The amount you’ll receive is based on the final estimated market value of your new home and will only be paid out once all exterior features are complete, such as the roof, siding, windows, etc. Applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and the program will remain active until program funds are depleted.

How moving here pencils out

Cost of living is pretty low, coming in at 10.8% lower than the national average. But the state does have one of the highest state income taxes at 9.85%.

North Platte, NE

North Platte has a WORKNP.com program that matches a local employer’s incentive package to help fill jobs. The program offers up to $5,000 for each open position by matching what the employer gives to bring in new talent. This means a potential relocation incentive of up to $10,000 if you choose to move here and land a job with a participating employer.

According to the program website, eligible employers must offer a full-time job that will pay at least $20 per hour within three years of you being hired. The incentives that are matched can be for relocation expenses, down payments, deposits, student loan repayment, and more.

Not all employers in Hamilton will offer this incentive, but those that do have to be in good standing as a North Platte Chamber and Development member. You can view the full list of members and search for jobs accordingly.

How moving here pencils out

Nebraska is a pretty affordable state to live in. North Platte has a 17.3% lower cost of living than the national average.

Newton, IA

Newton, Iowa’s housing initiative provides an incentive for home builders, real estate developers, property owners, and home buyers who buy a new home in Newton. If you buy a new home in Newton, you’ll receive $10,000 cash, plus a “Get to Know Newton Welcome Package” that the website says is valued at over $3,000. What’s included in this welcome package isn’t specified, though.

The incentive is only good for new single-family home construction that has a value greater than $160,000. In addition to the cash bonus, you’ll receive 50% off building permit and inspection fees, and Newton will cover your construction loan interest for up to one year from when the building permit is issued up to $10,000.

How moving here pencils out

According to U.S. News & World Report, Iowa ranks No. 1 in regards to affordability. However, the state’s income tax is one of the highest in the nation, sitting at 8.98%.

The bottom line

If your situation allows you to move and try out a new city for a couple of years, the fact that these places will pay you, in one way or another, might seem enticing and a great plan for how to make money easily. But it’s important to do your research on each area and decide if the incentive being offered is worth both the cost and experience of living there.

Based on your personal goals and personal finances, something like this could be the perfect fit for you. If it’s not, you could always try the next one on the list.

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Author Details

Matt Miczulski

Matt Miczulski is a personal finance writer specializing in financial news, budget travel, banking, and debt. His interest in personal finance took off after eliminating $30,000 in debt in just over a year, and his goal is to help others learn how to get ahead with better money management strategies. A lover of history, Matt hopes to use his passion for storytelling to shine a new light on how people think about money. His work has also been featured on MoneyDoneRight and Recruiter.com.