As our country has expanded, our government has found it best to offer free land to those willing to brave the wild and untamed parts to further growth and expansion. Realizing that unsettled areas are often deterrents for attracting business and residential areas, the government has made free land tracts available, starting with the homestead incentives of 1862. More than 150 years later, there are far fewer areas with free land available, but they do still exist.
Is it Really Free?
The land itself is completely free, but you aren’t getting a free house. Most areas require you build a house on the plot of land you receive. This means living in an area that is developing and may not have certain modern conveniences, like gas stations or coffee shops. There might not be a local hospital, school, library or fast food restaurant. There is, however, hook ups for modern utilities, which is often offered without fee. For some, this type of “off-the-grid” “nature-centered” lifestyle is right up their alley.
Marne, Iowa – Residential homeowners must build houses at least 1,200 sq. ft. in size and raise no livestock, but lots here are limited and only a select few are left.
Manilla, Iowa – The Manilla Economic Development Coorporation and the City of Manilla Municipal Utilities is currently offering 16 single family lots for those who build a single family residence in accordance to Addition and project requirements. Residents in this program enjoy free utility hook ups, five year tax abatement and down payment assistance for first time home buyers.
Lincoln, Kansas – With over 720 square miles of land and only 3,500 residents, the Lincoln city council voted to give away building plots in a new housing division to the first 21 applicants to meet requirements and build a home on their plot in accordance to city requirements.
Marquette, Kansas – The newest development on the edge of town, the Westridge Addition, has available plots for free with no building permit fees or utility hook-up fees. Applicants must fill out the application, sign a developers agreement and agree to build a home that has a roof pitch of at least 5 to 12, meets residential design standards and sits on a basement or crawlspace foundation.
Curtis, Nebraska – Multiple lots with free utility hook up are available in Curtis to those looking to build a single-family residence, meeting certain building requirements and within a specified time frame.
Other free land tracts with similar requirements are available in:
- Elwood, Nebraska
- New Richland, Minnesota
- Muskegon, Michigan
Moving to any of these locations is a great way to "start over" without breaking the bank. So the next time you think about moving, check out these places in the U.S. and see if any of them sound like home to you!