The thought of free land puts most people in a state of disbelief.
Yet, believe it or not, there are locations around the US that currently offer free land.
Now, it’s not an entirely catch-free process, but these programs can save you big on real estate costs and taxes.
If you’re looking to take advantage of what the country has to offer, this blog is for you!
Here are 20 ways that you can get free land today as well as everything you need to know about the process.
Do your research
Half of the battle to get free land in the US is locating it.
Back in the 1800s, the federal government engaged in homesteading, or granting free land to settlers.
This encouraged individuals to come out West, settle, and start a life.
The Homestead Act of 1862, one of the laws that enabled an applicant to acquire ownership of government land, opened up one million acres of land in the western part of the United States.
The final claim of federal homesteading was over a century later in 1988.
However, free land is still available from small towns and cities or farming communities (you can get a preview in our video below).
These areas hope to boost their population or draw businesses to their areas.
Start by researching where you can find “free land in the United States.”
While it may feel silly, this is one of the main incentives that smaller towns and cities use.
Once you apply and are granted the land, you may be asked to build a house or create a certain number of jobs in the area as “repayment.”
Furthermore, while you may be enticed by homesteading offers from the federal government, these are illegitimate.
The federal government stopped homesteading in the late 1980s.
Therefore, do not trust any site that claims to be distributing free land on behalf of the federal government.
The most appropriate places to look for free land are cities/towns themselves or small businesses.
1. Apply for free land
Although applying for free land is (as the name suggests) free, it isn’t effortless.
The process often includes an application where you’ll need to provide basic biographical information as well as the following:
Who will be living on the land
Where you’re living now
What you plan to do with the land
Often, applications are necessary because cities want to ensure that you fit their criteria for free land.
If you’re required to build, create jobs, etc., they want to ensure that you’re going to check these boxes.
Otherwise, you may not have your application approved.
Outside of small cities and towns, some companies operate in this space as well.
For instance, we provide opportunities for individuals to obtain free land twice a year.
The current free land giveaway is active until October 1, 2020.
If you are interested in participating in our free land giveaway, details are in our video below.
2. Prove your financial means
Once your application is accepted, you’ll still need to prove you have the financial means necessary to take ownership of the free land.
This differs depending on the entity you’re obtaining the land from. However, the community will likely want to see…
A plan for a house or business
Financial means to support building
A blueprint to build
Pre-approval for a loan
If you don’t have cash on-hand, don’t stress! You don’t necessarily need to have it to get free land.
You just need to make sure you can meet the financial requirements.
If that means you need to get a loan, do so.
3. Sign the agreement
They say nothing in life is ever “free” and that thought holds when it comes to free land.
When obtaining your free land, you’ll sign an agreement that you will take certain actions within a designated amount of time.
For example, most towns require you to build a house within a year (and thus must sign with a contractor within 4 months and start building within 6).
If building a house seems like a daunting task, you can start by watching our video below on how to buy land and build a house.
The free land is forfeitable if you don’t meet these conditions, so you must abide by the agreement should you wish to maintain your ownership.
4. Make a deposit
How do you make a deposit on free land? Cities often require a minuet deposit.
For instance, free land in Lincoln, Kansas has been known to have a deposit amount equal to $0.08/square foot.
Thus, it’s highly individualized to the location.
5. Follow the fine print
When a town or city grants you free land, you essentially enter into a contract with them.
You agree to bring additional housing, businesses or jobs to the area.
Thus, after you’ve obtained your free land, you must fulfill your side of the agreement.
Be sure to read the fine print and follow any of the stipulations laid out for you.
If you find you’re struggling to meet any of these requirements for any reason, request an extension.
You may be granted one if you can show proof that you’ve made an honest effort to fulfill your obligations.
6. Understand the obligations ahead of time
Everyone hears “free land” and wonders how they can get their own.
However, there are often obligations that come with homesteads that not everyone is prepared to take on. These include:
Building a house or business
Paying for assessments
These factors often catch individuals off guard. However, free land comes with deadlines to build homes and businesses and provide jobs (typically within a year).
It can also come with unanticipated costs like deposits or assessments for water, sewage or electricity depending on the area.
Make sure you do your due diligence on the property before putting down a deposit.
You can watch our video on the top three mistakes land purchasers make when purchasing land for more information on proper due diligence.
In rare instances, there are also unique situations that arise when buying land, which is why proper due diligence is key.
It’s unlikely that you will face a problem like this when buying from a township or city, but below is an example of some of the issues that come up when buying land.
Finally, since it’s typically used to draw people to specific cities or towns, free land may come with a residency requirement (either initially or long-term).
All of these factors can be difficult to fulfill for those who do not fully understand the process.
7. Relocate to one of the following locations
Although the federal government no longer practices homesteading, there are several cities and towns around the country that are still actively giving out free land each year.
Now, keep in mind that these small towns are often in the rural countryside (i.e. you may need to find water without a well)!
However, if this is something that interests you, then you’re a perfect candidate to receive free land.
Interested? Consider relocating to one of the following locations and snatch up free land today!
8. Move to Lincoln, Kansas
The City of Lincoln is offering free, ready-to-build lots to individuals and families interested in moving to the area.
Visit here to view the arrangement as well as the requirements.
Overall, Lincoln is known as a pretty city located in central Kansas. It’s roughly an hour from Wichita with a population of 3,500.
Free land has long been a part of Lincoln’s plan to entice people to move to the area.
9. Relocate to Marquette, Kansas
This is another small city that’s located in the “heart of America.”
If you’re looking for a blissful place to raise your family, you won’t be sorry when you move to Marquette.
Marquette has an accelerated timeline compared to some other cities and towns.
When you obtain free land from them, you’ll need to start building your home within 180 days and complete it within a year.
The city also imposes residential design standards and occupancy requirements.
Visit here to learn more about the free lots available to families.
10. Move to Mankato, Kansas
Mankato is a tiny city in Kansas with only 900 people.
To help draw people to the city, they’re offering free lots in exchange for homes built on the property.
The lots sit on a beautiful horseshoe-shaped drive on the east side of the community.
No additional assessments are required on the lots at this time, which means you automatically save money there.
The lots are located close to a high school, hospital, steak house, motel, and ½ mile from the shopping center.
Visit here to read more about the requirements to obtain a free lot in the Johnson addition.
Think you can’t have fun in somewhere rural? Check out this YouTube video with nearly 5 million views featuring Mankato, Throwing a Party in the Most Boring Town in America.
11. Relocate to Marne, Iowa
In recent years, Marne has had a massive decline in its population due to the decline in the number of family-owned farms.
They’re hoping to boost their numbers by giving away lots.
You can fill out the free lot application and requirements by visiting the Marne, Iowa website here.
12. Move to Plainville, Kansas
Kansas certainly knows how to draw people to their state. This city in the Midwestern state only has 2,000 people.
Lots are available in an area bounded by Colorado, Wyoming, and 2nd and 3rd streets in west Plainville.
A new home must be built with a full foundation and a $500 deposit (paid to the city) is required.
However, it will be refunded to the buyer at the time that all the requirements have been performed.
Visit here to learn more information about how to apply.
13. Relocate to La Villa, Texas
If the south is more your taste, Texas also offers free land.
However, while La Villa will give you land for free, you will have to pay the corresponding property taxes.
Additionally, there is a five-year lien attached to the lot, which discourages you from selling the lot within the first five years of ownership.
The best way to learn more about this program is to call the city directly.
You can reach the South Texas Economic Development Corp at 956-969-3024.
14. Move to Flagler, Colorado
Flagler is hoping to attract new businesses with free land for commercial or industrial uses.
This is a small town with a population of only 680. It’s located 110 miles east of Denver. Relocate here, help boost the economy, and enjoy free land all to yourself!
The town has an excellent school system, wireless internet, medical clinic, diner, restaurant, grocery store, library, motel, golf course, and all the other essentials.
Visit here to learn more.
15. Relocate to Buffalo, New York
If you love the idea of free land, but can’t quite bring yourself to love the rural options, then Buffalo may just work for you.
Applicants can acquire property in the designated areas for $1 plus the required closing costs.
They’re offering an urban homestead program as a way to renew their areas.
The city requires that the free lots be a primary residence (and this must be verified).
You can visit here to learn more about this program.
16. Move to Elwood, Nebraska
Elwood is located in southern Nebraska and is the quintessential small town.
There are several local stores, and you’ll never feel more old-fashioned than when you start calling Elwood your home (in the best way possible!).
To get a deed with your name on it, you’ll need to make a $500 payment.
Other than that, the land is totally free. However, be sure to pay attention to the home instruction requirements.
The minimum size is 1,400 square feet, and it must be on a foundation.
You can find more information here.
17. Relocate to Loup City, Nebraska
When local governments analyze their population pyramids, it often indicates how well an area will do in the future.
Loup City’s population is aging, which means that young individuals need to come and inhabit the area in order to help it grow.
How is Nebraska doing that? Through free land of course! West of Omaha, Loup City is a serene place to live with golf courses and fishing ponds.
The lots are offered in a subdivision with amenities.
Like other cities, Loup City is offering a lot for free in exchange for a deposit.
This deposit will be returned once a new home is built and complete.
You can read more about the program on their website here.
18. Relocate to Curtis, Nebraska
Not far from Beatrice is Curtis, NE, which also has plenty of available lots as well.
It’s an incredibly livable town. It has a small population, but all the amenities you may need.
You can visit the town’s website here to learn more about relocation incentives.
19. Move to New Richland, Minnesota
Heading up to the land of ten thousand lakes, Minnesota won’t disappoint in terms of leisure activities.
From golf to bike trails to lakes, any outdoor enthusiast will love this area.
This rural farming town actually feels more like a beautiful suburb.
Visit here to learn more about how to obtain free land in New Richland.
20. Move to Osborne, Kansas
Osborne is giving out properties for both residential and commercial purposes.
It also occasionally provides low-interest loans to entice people to relocate and start businesses.
For residential land, a $500 deposit is required and you must complete a 1400 sq ft home within 12 months.
You can find out more on Osborne’s website.
And there you have it! Free land is obtainable in so many ways.
Please note that we are not associated with any of the above towns or cities giving away free land.
If you’re ready to get started, check out our Free Land Giveaway or any of the above websites to get started.
While not usually free, you can also check out these 19 Best Websites You Need to Know to Buy Land for Sale.
If you are interested in land investing, you can check out our article on Land Investing: How You Can Get Started in 2020.
If you are looking to sell your land, you can check out our Sell You Land page.
If you are interested in buying land, you can check out our listing page.