8 Top Cities That Are Giving Away Free Land
The word ‘free’ is enough to make heads turn around. And that’s why the thought of just getting free land is tempting. But just like everything else, anything that is free comes with an asterisk. And when you end up looking into the terms and conditions, you’ll soon realize it is ideally a path to take if you’re drawn to the lifestyle of homesteading.
What is Homesteading?
The term homesteading is basically living off the land you live on. You can either buy or be qualified to get a piece of government-owned land and build a house on it. Homesteaders usually cultivate an adjacent farm on the land as well to keep the soil rich and get fresh produce. In other words, it’s almost like going back to the traditional way of living. This is the general definition of homesteading. But of course, there’s various types of homesteaders that choose to deviate from this version of things.
In today’s world, typically homesteading isn’t a lifestyle that everybody can digest. It’s true that there’s various perks to this kind of life where you grow your own produce, live a humble life and be content. But finding a land where you can initiate this life can be a challenge. So we’re here to give you a brief glance at top cities where you can have luck with getting free land.
Where did the Concept of Free Land Start?
Before we actually list the cities where you can try to qualify for free land, we’d just like to take you down the road where this initiative began. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed the ‘Homestead Act’. In simple words, this act allows citizens to take upto 160 acres of government-owned land for free. Now doesn’t that sound tempting? But wait there’s a catch. The condition is that you must live on the land, build and improve the land.
Now there is also a mere registration fee and these things differ slightly from state to state. The whole idea behind this is that if there’s land wasting away, it could actually be revamped by homesteaders, and this opens up new possibilities for that land. The government can then wash their hands off from the maintenance of that land. This responsibility is then solely into the hands of the person who now owns the land. Keep in mind that there’s also a list of requirements that must be met if you end up qualifying for the land.
Overall, you must be prepared to roll your sleeves up to get into a bunch of administrative work. The process begins with an application form and only if you qualify you would be able to take the land for free. Just a heads up that they could be a great number of gray areas and the procedure differs from state to state.
We insist that you read through the fine print and the requirements. Few common requirements are that you must be able to build property on the land within a year of acquiring it. Other requirements are that you should be able to show them that you have sufficient financial resources to run the property. Some cities even demand that the owner builds a business on the land so that it helps increase the economic activity of the city.
At the time of registering for the so-called ‘free land’, you may also have to pay a small deposit which is oftentimes refundable. All we’re trying to convey is that there’s a huge deal of conditions under the term ‘free land’. If you wish to take this path, you must be prepared to deal with the whole ordeal. It would be difficult to cut to the chase when you try to acquire this free land.
If you wish to take an easier path, we suggest that you also look into the following states that offer land dirt cheap:
- West Virginia
Homesteading is an important part of the culture in these states, so you can get a good size of land for a reasonable price.
8 Top Cities in the U.S. That Are Giving Away Free Land
- Lincoln, Kansas
- Loup City, Nebraska
- Manilla, Iowa
- New Richland, Minnesota
- Flagler, Colorado
- Buffalo, New York
- La Villa, Texas
- Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
1. Lincoln, Kansas
With a population that’s almost reaching three million, the state of Kansas keeps growing larger in number. The state is one of the nation’s top choices for homesteading. Kansas has most of the traits that are attractive to those looking to get some dirt cheap land or qualify for free land. The weather conditions are temperate so if you’re considering growing crops, this state works in your favor.
Presently, ‘The Free Home Site Program’ is the operation running in the city of Lincoln that allows citizens to obtain free land under certain conditions. For in depth information, we suggest calling the city office branch at 785-524-4280. You also try ringing up the County Economic Development office at 785-524-8954.
Upside – The population in Lincoln is small and roughly 3,500. So it’s easy to feel part of a community. It’s also common for everyone to know everyone. Another plus point is that it’s not completely cut off from cities, but a one-hour drive could connect you to more urban areas. Marquette, Mankato and Plainville are other cities in Kansas that you can consider for free land.
2. Loup City, Nebraska
Like taking it easy and slow? Then the Loup City in Nebraska is the perfect place to set foot. You can find a ton of land or reasonably cheap in the city. There are “loopholes” to the operation of free land in “Loup City” (pun intended). For instance, if you visit and find a vacant lot that you love and would like to improve, there could be a base deposit fee for you to bear just to have it reserved.
Since in the past Nebraska was largely rural, this policy lured people into the state. In the present times the rural side has declined but it’s still much easier to find land here than in other parts of the nation. It would be necessary to actually visit a government office in Nebraska to learn more about the forms and procedures to get free land.
Upside – There’s plenty of ranches and activities that keep the city up and running. Besides Loup City you can also consider the city of Beatrice and Curtis for free land in Nebraska.
3. Manilla, Iowa
The city of Manilla is located in Crawford County in Iowa. The location of this city isn’t completely off the grid but you could plug into relatively urban areas. The population of this city in 2019 was just 895. You can probably already imagine how easy it is to connect to more people when the entire city’s population is below the 1000 mark.
In addition to that, Iowa in general is a great state to consider for homesteading. But we specifically call out Manilla in this list because they have a project that goes by the name ‘Sunrise Addition Phase 2’. This project would be beneficial to all of you looking to get some free land. There’s a set of requirements drafted by the Manilla Economic Development Corporation that you must fulfill. You can then qualify for the ‘No Cost Lot’ initiative post clearing the application procedure. For more information, we suggest getting in touch with the city administrative office at –
Via phone: 712-654-2632
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Upside – You could easily drive to bigger cities like Des Moines and Iowa City when you want to have access to better medical facilities and school districts. So you can enjoy both the city life and the off-grid living.
The state of Minnesota is rightly called the Lake City. So if you’re an outdoorsy person, this is hands down a great option. There’s plenty of cool spots for swimming, kayaking and fishing. The place is also good for mountain biking, hiking and well the options are limitless.
4. New Richland, Minnesota
You can get free land in the city of New Richland, but you’d have to complete building a property on it within a year. There’s also other conditions such as you’ve to make arrangements to manage the sewer and gutter water from the property. Also, just a heads up that the free land you can access here is not like the other cities on this list. But it’s a project where you get a lot of freedom to develop a space that has a suburban atmosphere, so it’s not completely rural.
If you wish to contact the New Richland administrative office, you can do so –
Via phone: 507-465-3514
Via email: email@example.com
Upside – You would get to live near a lakeside beach, parks and take advantage of bike trails in the vicinity.
5. Flagler, Colorado
The state of Colorado is known for having a super active community. You’re also closer to the mountains and have the opportunity to take advantage of a steady job market. We’d like to mention that the city of Flagler is offering free land and like you would expect, there’s a clause to it. You can apply to get free land but must be in agreement to build an industry or run a business on the land.
The main goal with this initiative is to liven the economic health of this city. Just a heads up that the city doesn’t have much going for it, the population was at 549 in 2019. But the pro is that it lies in close proximity to the city of Denver which is doing great for a mid-size city. You can always plug into Denver for modern amenities and tune off in the city of Flagler for a completely contrasting lifestyle.
Upside – You get free land to run your dream business or an industry. You also get to help build the health of the economic conditions in Flagler.
6. Buffalo, New York
The city of Buffalo is the second largest city in the state of New York and it might come as a surprise that the city offers free land. This entire initiative comes under the ‘Urban Homestead Program’. If you’re interested in this, you must fill up the application form which is available on the Buffalo city government website. Procedures will all fall in line one after the other post that.
There’s also the rule that you should be able to build a home structure on the land after 12 months of becoming the owner of the land. And if you buy one of the properties, then repairs must be completed by 18 months after becoming the owner.
Upside – You get to live in the state of New York! A land of opportunities to grab and still have a whole secret lifestyle in the city of Buffalo. You get to live an interesting life in an interesting state.
7. La Villa, Texas
The city of La Villa in Texas is in dire need of people to take care of vacant lots owned by the city. The whole goal of initiating this project is that the cost to maintain these empty lots was taxing for the city. So, by giving them to residents, the development department wishes to bring new life to the area. Do note that this city is situated in the southern part of the state of Texas and very close to the border of Mexico. We suggest asking yourself if you’re comfortable with this location before making your decision.
You can contact the city department at 1-956-262-2122 with any questions or for information on the available lots.
Upside – It’s a close-knit community so you can form strong connections here. If you’re looking for a quaint little small town where you hardly hear any traffic, then this could be it.
8. Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
Cuyahoga National Park sits between two of Ohio’s fast growing cities which are Akron and Cleveland. This park is known for safeguarding the rural landscape and local farmers that take care of the land here. Now under the ‘Countryside Initiative Program’, you do stand a chance of getting some free land but for agricultural purposes.
If you love farming and would like to transform farms that are sitting idle, you can get your hands on a small patch of land in Cuyahoga National Park. This program was initiated in the year 1999 and since then, there have been a lot of changes in the requirements. Overall, you do get to live and farm on a land that is owned by the city. There are few loopholes to whether it is completely free but we thought it’s worth mentioning since it is an interesting option to consider.
Upside – The program is beneficial to those of you who would like to take care of a farm. You also get to be part of a lively farming community and you ultimately get to play a role to help the land.
What states offer free land?
Kansas and Nebraska are the big players when it comes to finding cities that would offer you free land. You can also consider Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio.
Which states are great for homesteading?
A majority of Midwestern and southern states are good choices for homesteading. Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia are the top 5 you should consider.
Kansas and Nebraska are the two dominating states where you can find more than one city that is offering free land. We suggest starting off your research with these two states. Overall, you can also widen your search to other states (in the Midwest), where you can find land that is being sold for a very low price.