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These towns and cities across the US want you to move there — so they're offering perks from $15,000 cash to a free home

Tulsa Remote
Jen Smith, a Tulsa Remote participant, in front of her Oklahoma home.Jon Ratzlaff/Tulsa Remote
  • Many American cities offer cash, homes, and other incentives to lure people to move there.

  • The perks, often aimed at qualifying remote workers, range from gift cards to coworking memberships.

  • Business Insider rounded up the states, cities, and towns that are paying people to move there.

Remote work and the search for affordable housing have permanently reshaped where people live, and cities across the US are noticing.

A number of places are offering new residents big incentives, such as cash or free land.

Lillian Griffith, a 25-year-old data engineer, moved from Alpharetta, Georgia, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in August 2022 to take advantage of the Tulsa Remote program, which granted her $10,000 simply for relocating to the city.

"The Tulsa Remote program is not some elitist program that only accepts people who work in high-paying positions," Griffith told Business Insider. "It's more about pulling people who can bring a good culture to the city."

While some cities are doling out cash for remote workers, hoping their presence will boost the local economy, others are looking to attract new talent by paying off their debts. Hamilton, Ohio — a city of 63,000 about 20 miles north of Cincinnati — is courting recent college graduates with a program that offers up to $15,000 a year toward student-loan repayments.

Other cities are more interested in boosting their population. In Lincoln, Kansas, a small town about two hours north of Wichita, relocators can nab free residential plots of land just outside the city's downtown if they agree to certain design guidelines.

Business Insider rounded up the places across the US that are dishing out perks to anyone who moves there.

Did you get paid to move somewhere? We'd love to hear about it. Email the reporter, Jordan Pandy, at jpandy@businessinsider.com.

Columbus, Georgia, will pay remote workers $5,000 to move there.

Columbus, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia.SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

Columbus, a 200,000-person city on the border between Georgia and Alabama, is giving $5,000 to remote workers who move there.

Together with MakeMyMove, a site that connects remote workers with places offering them incentives, Columbus is also offering relocators other perks, including six months of time at a coworking space, coffee with the mayor, and a two-night hotel stay to visit before your move.

The total package is worth $7,400, according to MakeMyMove.

In order to qualify for the program, you need to be employed full-time, earn at least $75,000, and live at least 75 miles outside Columbus at the time of the application.

A new lottery program in Baltimore wants to reduce the upfront costs required for prospective residents to buy a home.

Baltimore Maryland
Baltimore.Cyndi Monaghan/Getty Images

Buying Into Baltimore is a program that awards $5,000 in down-payment and closing-cost assistance to a few lucky prospective homebuyers who enter a lottery after attending a special Trolley Tour that is held three times a year.

The prize is not limited to first-time homebuyers, but following the event, applicants have 10 business days to make an offer on a home, have the offer accepted, and obtain a contract of sale to be eligible to even enter the lottery. A special note for remote workers looking to make the move — the property must also be used as a primary residence.

A city on a lake in Minnesota wants to reimburse you for your relocation costs.

Bedmiji, Minnesota
Bemidji sits on an idyllic lake, pictured above, in Northern Minnesota.Dylan Kovach/Getty Images

Bemidji, a 15,000-person city in northern Minnesota, has a program offering remote workers interested in moving to the area six months of free internet service, a one-year membership to a coworking space, a one-year membership to the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, and free access to community programs and events.

To qualify, movers must work primarily from home and be relocating from at least 60 miles away.

Claremont, Minnesota, is also offering free residential plots to those with home-building means and plans.

Screen Shot 2020 02 03 at 4.49.06 PM
Claremont, Minnesota.Google Maps

The Claremont House Lot Program is giving away single-family lots for free, as part of a qualified-buyer program, to families of two with a gross income of $91,800 or families of three or more making a total of $114,655 or less. Those with a higher gross income would need to pay $9,500 for their lot.

Even if securing the lot seems like a breeze, there are a number of things to keep in mind while building a home in Claremont, a town of just about 500 people about 80 miles south of Minneapolis. Homes cannot have less than 930 livable square feet, and they must have minimal landscaping and a double-stall garage.

Hamilton, Ohio, assists recent graduates with their student-loan payments.

Traffic is seen in this photograph taken with a slow shutter speed in Hamilton, Ohio.
A shot of the Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton, Ohio.Jon Gambrell/AP

Hamilton, Ohio — a city of 63,000 about 20 miles north of Cincinnati — is encouraging recent college graduates to apply for its Talent Attraction Program Scholarship.

Scholarship recipients can get up to $15,000 a year toward student loan payments.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, you must have graduated from a STEAM (science, tech, engineering, the arts, or math) program within the last seven years. You must not already live in the city of Hamilton but have plans to move or live in what the city defines as one of its "urban" neighborhoods.

Applicants must demonstrate employment within Butler County or a full-time remote position. Preference is given to people "with a desire to give back to the community and become engaged in activities." Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Ketchikan, Alaska, pays you up to $2,000 a year to live there and gives you free internet.

Coastal village of Ketchikan, Alaska.
Coastal village of Ketchikan, Alaska.Royce Bair/Getty Images

Ketchikan, a scenic coastal city near the southernmost tip of Alaska that is a 90-minute flight from Seattle, launched the Choose Ketchikan program in November 2021.

Applicants over 18 must be "fully employed." The individual or family must live outside Alaska while working remotely for a company that is also outside Alaska.

All Alaska residents get an annual payment from Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend, which can be as much as $3,000 a year or more. Ketchikan is also offering new residents three months of high-speed internet for free.

A quaint town in central Kansas is giving away free land to build your home on.

A city hall building in Lincoln, Kansas
Lincoln City Hall in downtown Lincoln, Kansas.Bob Weston/Getty Images

Lincoln, Kansas, a town of about 1,100, is offering free residential land plots just outside the city's downtown. The city grants the deed to people who agree to build a home on the lot — ranging from 14,000 to 35,000 square feet — as long as they meet certain design guidelines.

Before building the house, the applicant must provide a deposit of 8 cents per square foot — though the money is refunded upon the completion of the home. It's a modest request since one contractor said the cost to build a custom home in the state started at close to $100 per square foot.

According to Live Lincoln County, you do not have to be a resident of Lincoln, or even the state of Kansas, to participate in the program. And there are no regulations against building a home for the sole purpose of flipping it.

Lincoln has a deep culture of history with museums such as the Post Rock Scout Museum and the Lincoln Historical Museum.

 

Manilla, Iowa, is offering free plots of land to anyone who will build homes on them.

manilla, iowa
A view of Manilla, Iowa.City of Manilla

Manilla — a small city in western Iowa — is offering free lots of land to anyone looking to build a single-family home. Twenty-two homes have already been built, and there are six additional lots up for grabs.

Manilla is also eliminating taxes on the homes built for the first five years.

A small city in Pennsylvania wants to give you a free fixer-upper.

The Pittsburgh skyline at dusk.
Monessen is just south of Pittsburgh, pictured above.Ken Redding/Getty Images

Monessen, Pennsylvania, a small city located just south of Pittsburgh, is offering up free homes.

Monessen, once a vibrant steel town, is home to scores of vacant homes — so many that abandoned houses make up 10% of homes in the area, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The properties, all in varying states of disrepair, have accrued thousands of dollars in back taxes. If you choose to scoop one up, the mayor will clear the home's back taxes as long as you get the previous owner to sign the home over to you.

You also must commit to spending more than three times the amount of back taxes to fix the property up.

A program in West Virginia is offering potential new residents $12,000 in cash.

morgantown west virginia
Downtown Morgantown, West Virginia.West Virginia Tourism Department.

West Virginia launched a program named Ascend WV to attract out-of-state remote workers to Morgantown. To be eligible, potential residents must be 18 years or older, able to verify remote employment, and willing to move to the city of 30,000 for two years.

Those accepted to the program are expected to relocate to Morgantown — a vibrant college town home to West Virginia University — within six months to receive $10,000 in cash paid out over the course of a year. Another $2,000 is to be paid at the end of the second year. Other perks of the program include a coworking-space membership and free outdoor-gear rentals.

In the fall of 2021, the program received so many applications — 7,500 — that the state partnered with Rocket Mortgage to offer the applicants who were not selected for the program $2,500 to put toward closing costs on a home in the area.

Ascend WV is now accepting applications for its next host city, Lewisburg, which is in the southern part of the state, near the Virginia border.

Natchez, Mississippi, is luring remote workers with cash upfront plus more money each month for a year.

The Dunleith Historic Inn
The Dunleith Historic Inn in Natchez, Mississippi.StevenGaertner/Getty Images

Natchez, Mississippi is a historic city full of antebellum mansions on the banks of the Mississippi River, right on the border with Louisiana. Its history spans from the indigenous Native American tribe that gave Natchez its name to French colonists who built a bustling trade port.

Natchez has an incentive program, Shift South, that awards up to $6,000 to eligible workers to offset relocation expenses.

The program is specifically targeting "remote workers to relocate to Natchez to enjoy a lower cost of living." People who apply must show work with an employer outside Natchez.

Benefits include a $2,500 payment for relocators, followed by $300 a month for one year. The program does require recipients to purchase a home valued at $150,000 or more in order to be eligible.

"We are excited to be the first and only city in the Deep South to offer an incentive package like this to remote workers," the Natchez mayor, Dan Gibson, said. "In this new day, where so many people are able to work from home, we can think of no better place than Natchez."

Newton, Iowa, is offering homebuyers more than $10,000 to buy a house priced at $240,000 or more.

The Jasper County Courthouse in Newton, Iowa.
The Jasper Country Courthouse in Newton, Iowa.Eddie Brady/Getty Images

The city of Newton, Iowa, is about 30 miles east of Des Moines and wants to give relocators who purchase a home there cash upon closing.

Newton is offering $10,000 in cash to those who buy homes valued at more than $240,000 and a five-year tax abatement for homes below that value. Eligible homes are single-family new builds that started construction in 2020 or 2021.

All newly purchased homes also come with the promise of a "Get to Know Newton Welcome Package" that includes gifts from local businesses and opportunities to attend events at iconic local spots, such as the Iowa Speedway.

A handful of cities in Alabama are offering remote workers who move to the area $10,000 cash to be paid out over the course of a year.

the shoals florence alabama
The view from a bridge in Florence, Alabama.JasmineImage/Getty Images

The Shoals in Alabama — a cluster of municipalities including Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia that straddles the banks of the Tennessee River — is offering remote workers $10,000 to move to the area. Near the border with Tennessee and Mississippi, the four cities are just a couple of hours from hubs such as Memphis, Nashville, and Birmingham.

The program offers $2,500 upfront for relocation costs, then an additional $2,500 six months after moving there, and finally $5,000 at the end of the first year of residency.

Eligible applicants must be over the age of 18 and able to move to the region within six months, be employed outside the area, and have a minimum annual income of $52,000.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering remote workers a $10,000 grant to put toward housing.

Tulsa Remote
Jen Smith, a Tulsa Remote participant, in front of her Oklahoma home.Jon Ratzlaff/Tulsa Remote

Tulsa Remote, a program that started in 2018, is designed to draw new residents to Oklahoma. Since 2018, the program has aided more than 1,400 remote workers in relocating to Tulsa. And it has seen a 300% increase in interest as of 2022, program organizers told Business Insider in an email.

The program offers $10,000, which you can put toward purchasing or renting a home in Tulsa. The program also offers $500 travel reimbursements and a $150 Airbnb credit for applicants to get familiar with the area.

Insider interviewed four city folks from both coasts who made the move to Tulsa and said it was the best decision they ever made.

To qualify for the program, applicants must be over the age of 18, live outside Oklahoma, have a consistent stream of income and the ability to work remotely and promise to commit to moving to and living in Tulsa for at least one year.

The following cities and towns have at one time offered to pay people to move there but didn't respond to Business Insider's inquiry about the status of those programs in November 2023.

A small town in Indiana is offering $5,000 to offset moving costs — and a "Grandparents on Demand" service.

A man sits outside a bar in Greensburg, Indiana.
Downtown Greensburg, Indiana.Darron Cummings/AP Photo

Greensburg, a 10-square-mile Indiana town sitting smack in the middle between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, is offering a number of incentives to potential movers.

The town worked with MakeMyMove to create the program, which offers anyone relocating to the area in the next six to 12 months $5,000 cash, roughly $2,000 in gift cards to local businesses, a yearlong membership to a local coworking space and the YMCA, and even access to a creative childcare program and other community building initiatives.

Greensburg's "Grandparents on Demand" program pairs newcomers with local senior citizens who can provide babysitting services and even act as a stand-in at students' Grandparent's Day free of charge.

Harmony, Minnesota, is granting up to $12,000 to build a home there.

Trucks and busses driving through farmland in Harmony, Minnesota.
Harmony, Minnesota.Jim Watson/Getty Images

Just 130 miles outside Minneapolis, Harmony, Minnesota, is offering workers who move to the city up to $12,000 in cash rebates toward a new home.

The town is granting a minimum of $2,000 for you to build a new home or remodel a neglected one. The subsidy depends on the estimated market value of the newly built home or property in need of some tender loving care. If the home's estimated market value tops $250,000, you'll receive the maximum $12,000 rebate from Harmony's Economic Development Authority.

Spec homes qualify, too, if you want to skip out on the process of building a home yourself. Plus, there are no restrictions on income level or residency.

Harmony, which calls itself "The Biggest Little Town in Southeast Minnesota," has a population of less than 1,000 people and is home to Niagara Cave, one of the top 10 rated caves in the US.

The state of Maine started a tax credit program that reimburses college graduates for student-loan payments.

Bangor, Maine
Bangor, Maine.Lawrence Whittemore Photography/Getty Images

Maine is luring remote workers by offering to help pay student loans for relocators through its Opportunity Maine Tax Credit program.

Regardless of where your employer is, if you live in Maine for the tax year and graduated from college after 2008, you are likely eligible for a tax credit that could total up to $377 a month to go toward student-loan payments.

For graduates with STEM degrees, there could be additional perks refunding the entirety of your state taxes.

Oahu, Hawaii, is offering free airfare and discounted hotel rates to those looking to work from somewhere sunnier for a while.

Oahu Hawaii airplane
The view of Oahu from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight.Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Hawaii is banking on long-term tourism to revive its pandemic-era economy.

A new program named Movers and Shakas, which is funded by several local businesses and organizations, is offering to pay the airfare of anyone looking to work remotely from Oahu and volunteer with a local nonprofit. Other perks for participants include discounted hotel stays and networking opportunities.

The first recipients of the flight funds were already selected — after there were 90,000 applications for 50 spots.

Applicants must be remote workers over the age of 18 who can commit to spending at least 30 consecutive days in Hawaii and are willing to participate in a community-service activity such as youth mentoring.

The Hawaii program differs from other programs in that it doesn't require a semi-permanent or permanent commitment to the area.

A small Illinois town is offering $5,000 to movers looking for work.

Quincy, Illinois
Quincy, Illinois.Quincy's Calling

Quincy, Illinois, a town of 40,000 on the Missouri border, has also launched a program to incentivize Americans to relocate there.

The Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program is now offering movers who can get a job within the county a property-tax rebate of up to $5,000 after one year of living and working in the area. If you would prefer to rent, you can get a rental rebate of up to $3,500 after six months of residency and employment.

Remote workers aren't eligible for the program: New residents must take up employment in Adams County, where Quincy is.

Savannah, Georgia, is offering remote workers in tech $2,000 toward moving expenses.

savannah georgia
Savannah, Georgia.Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Savannah, Georgia, rolled out a program named the Savannah Technology Workforce Incentive amid the pandemic.

The program offers up to $2,000 in reimbursement for moving fees to remote workers who have already lived in Chatham County for one month. They either need to show they've signed a one-year lease or newly purchased a home.

Southwest Michigan is offering remote workers $15,000 toward a down payment on a home, along with other perks.

Southwest Michigan
The pier in Saint Joseph, Michigan.Raymond Malkemes/Getty Images

A string of ZIP codes in southwest Michigan, right on Lake Michigan, is looking to entice people decamping from nearby Chicago or beyond with up to $15,000 to put toward a home purchase and more than $5,000 in additional perks. Those extras include memberships to athletic clubs, driving ranges, coworking spaces, and more.

The first round of the program — named Move to Michigan — is already full, but applicants for the next iteration must be willing to purchase a $200,000 home in southwest Michigan. They must also be willing to become a full-time Michigander by securing a Michigan driver's license and claiming it as a primary residence. Applicants must also have current full-time, remote employment outside Michigan.

Sign up for the program's newsletter for updates.

Topeka, Kansas, is offering potential new residents up to $15,000 to move there.

topeka
Topeka, Kansas.Bajillion Agency/Choose Topeka

Kansas' state capital, Topeka, is teaming up with employers to offer cash to those willing to move there.

Participants of the program, named Choose Topeka, can receive up to $15,000 if they purchase a home in Topeka and secure a job in the area. Remote workers with work outside the area can earn up to $5,000 toward rental costs or $10,000 toward a home purchase.

As an added bonus, Jimmy John's, the sandwich franchise, is throwing in an extra $1,000 for anyone who moves within the delivery range of one of its shops.

Tucson, Arizona, is offering remote workers perks and services worth about $7,500.

Tucson Arizona
Tucson, Arizona.Nick Fox/Shutterstock

The University of Arizona campus is in Tucson, the second-largest city in the state. A local economic-development organization launched Remote Tucson during the pandemic to lure remote workers to the area.

The program offers relocators $1,500 toward moving costs, one year of free internet, free trials at local coworking spaces, membership to a local cultural institution, networking opportunities, and more.

Eligible applicants must be over 18 years old, have full-time remote employment outside the area, and be able to move to Tucson within six months.

Vermont is offering $7,500 to potential residents looking for a new home and new employment.

burlington vermont houses
Burlington, Vermont.Getty Images

Vermont is looking to combat its labor crunch by offering out-of-state movers a grant to relocate.

The new program is offering movers $7,500 to live in Vermont and seek local employment in a role that is listed by the state's Department of Labor as one of the most in demand. Jobs on the list include restaurant work and construction.

Vermont is also rolling out a remote worker grant for new residents who work in the state for an out-of-state employer. That program is for those who relocated on or after February 1, 2022.

West Lafayette, Indiana, is offering a stipend of up to $5,000 to remote workers who want to live where Purdue University is.

Purdue University
The campus of Purdue University in October 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

A new Purdue University program isn't recruiting students but remote workers.

The school is offering relocators the chance to live near campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, access university resources, and receive a $5,000 stipend that can be applied to anything from housing to moving costs or even coworking space.

Eligible applicants must have full-time remote employment and must be interested in relocating to West Lafayette from outside Indiana immediately.

Taylor Borden, Libertina Brandt, and Leanna Garfield contributed to previous versions of this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider