Some people fantasize about building their dream home or business on their own plots of land, but land plots can be expensive. That said, did you know that there’s free land in the US?
Yes, just like there are states that pay you to move there, there are states that give you free land!
Free land plots were abundant throughout the United States thanks to the Homesteading Act of 1862.
What does the Homesteading Act entail? Until 1976 with the ratification of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 48 contiguous US states offered free land.
Though free land isn’t available in most of the US anymore, you can still obtain some in certain cities located in these seven states:
- New York
Learn about each city and where to apply for free land plots.
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What will I learn?
What States Offer Free Land in the US?
These US states and cities offer free or low-cost plots of land.
1. Colorado- Flagler
Flagler, CO, is a tiny town with about 650 people.
Even though it’s small, Flagler might suit your needs because it offers land incentives for business owners.
If the city approves your request during the first step of the application, you’ll need to pay a deposit of $10/acre to move forward.
- Link to Apply: https://flaglercolorado.com/freeland/
2. Iowa- Manilla
Manilla, IA, is a small rural town with approximately 775 residents.
Because of its tiny population, Manilla is doing everything possible to draw in more people by offering free land.
These lots target those wanting to construct single-family homes.
- Link to Apply: https://www.manillaia.com/business.asp?key=3
3. Kansas- Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne, Plainville, Wilson
Kansas has programs offering free land in a few cities.
Known as “The Post Capital of Kansas,” Lincoln has over 1,100 residents.
Lincoln offers free lots measuring between 14,000 and 35,000 square feet.
The lots are great for individuals and families because they’re close to amenities like grocery stores, schools, and eateries.
- Link to Apply: https://www.livelincolncounty.com/free-lots-residential/
Mankato, KS, has more than 900 residents.
You’ll love it here if you enjoy outdoor living because its main industries include fishing, hunting, and agriculture.
Any home you plan to build has to be at least 1,200 square feet and have at least three bedrooms.
- Link to Apply: https://www.mankatoks.com/free-land
Osborne, KS, is the county seat of Osborne County, and over 1,335 people live here.
Its lots are available for families planning to construct a house within two years.
Upon signing an agreement with the City of Osborne, you need to pay a $500 deposit.
Plainville, KS, is home to more than 2,000 residents.
You must complete the construction of your home within 18 months.
A lot requires a $500 deposit paid to the City of Plainville.
- Link to Apply: https://rookscounty.net/free_homesites/
Lover of Czech culture? Then, you’ll enjoy Wilson, KS, because it’s “The Czech Capital of Kansas.”
With a population of approximately 860 people, Wilson exudes a quaint vibe, and its lots are located in a family-friendly cul-de-sac.
Though the lots cost you nothing, there are extra charges for the water lines.
- Link to Apply: https://www.wilsonks.com/free-land.html
4. Minnesota- Claremont, New Richland
Minnesota gives plots of land for free in two places.
Claremont, MN, has a population of about 550 residents.
Claremont operates the Claremont Workforce Housing Program to provide affordable housing for low-income families.
Your family has to meet certain income guidelines (no more than $129,000/per family of three or more people) to be eligible for the program.
New Richland, MN, is home to over 1,200 people.
New Richland offers a bike trail, a beach, and other conveniences near its Homestake Division.
While the free lots include extra expenses like sewer and water, the city will reduce these fees if you meet certain income guidelines.
- Link to Apply: https://www.cityofnewrichlandmn.com/index.asp?SEC=E4182CA2-FBE7-4271-89BD-2907B9067956
5. Nebraska- Beatrice, Curtis, Elwood, Loup City
In order to attract more residents, Nebraska is giving away free land in 4 places.
Beatrice, NE, has a population of more than 12,460 residents.
Beatrice’s Move-to-Own program enables new homeowners to take advantage of its free lots while caring for them responsibly.
You must not have any delinquent real estate/property taxes, and your accounts have to be in good standing with the city’s public works department.
Curtis, NE, is a small town with approximately 940 people. It’s well-known for its Palm Sunday annual pageant, giving it the name “Nebraska’s Easter City.”
Curtis provides free lots for both residential and commercial purposes.
Got kids? Families with children receive up to $1,000, provided their kids are under 18 and attend school in the Medicine Valley Public School District.
Over 700 residents dwell in Elwood, NE.
Elwood offers free residential lots in Wheatfield Addition. However, you’ll have to pay a $50 building permit as well as a $500 deposit.
In addition, you need to build your home within a year and move in within two years.
- Link to Apply: http://www.elwoodnebraska.com/freelots.html
Loup City, NE, is Sherman County’s county seat and has approximately 1,200 people.
Its John Subdivision offers free lots that require a $1,000 deposit.
If you meet specific income guidelines, you’ll qualify for Loup City’s Workforce Homes program, which aids prospective homeowners with $20,000 down payment assistance.
- Link to Apply: https://www.loupcity.com/business/housing/john-subdivision/
6. New York- Buffalo
Yes, you can indeed get free land in New York!
Buffalo, NY, is home to over 276,000 residents, making it the city with the largest population on this list. (Buffalo is also famous for its Buffalo wings.)
This city provides lots via its Urban Homestead Program.
To qualify, you need proof of income, proof of residency, and no property code violations or liens.
- Link to Apply: https://www.buffalony.gov/306/Urban-Homestead-Program
7. Ohio- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is unusual because it offers land plots for farmers to lease. Some of these plots include a sheep farm, spice acres, an orchard, and more.
At about $500 to $1,000 per month, it isn’t free, but it’s quite affordable.
Though the leasing program isn’t available as of now, I thought it’d be interesting to bring it up.
Nevertheless, the farms are open to visitors who want to check them out, so stop by when you can.
It’s unfortunate that free land plots aren’t as ubiquitous as they were in the past. However, it’s good that you can find them in select cities. Obtaining free land in the US can be the first step towards owning a home or business you’ve always wanted.