Places That Will Pay You to Live There
Thinking about relocating but not sure where to go? Why not go where they’ll pay you to live and work there?
Some state and local governments are hungry for residents to refill their tax coffers or to attract people who work in certain high-tech fields. These governments will go to great lengths to attract these residents, including giving away land, relieving student-loan debt and even tossing free money your way.
Here’s where you’ll find these awesome benefits — and what it takes to land them.
Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Tulsa Remote program aims to draw remote workers to the city to help liven up the area.
Unlike most programs on our list, Tulsa Remote, as its name implies, applies only to remote workers. But it also offers a ton more than many others on this list. First, free money! Tulsa Remote will slide you a cool $10,000 just for moving there. Now, it won’t give you 100 percent of the cash upfront, but it will hand you enough to move and the rest after you spend a year in the city.
While the cash is great, there are other sweet benefits to make moving to Tulsa. You also get free coworking space at 36 Degrees North and a $300-per-month rental stipend to help reduce the already-cheap rental prices in Tulsa.
The requirements are not crazy either. You must be able to move to Tulsa within six months, have a remote job or self-employment outside Tulsa, be at least 18 years old and be eligible to work in the U.S.
The downside is the waiting list is obviously very long. I applied for this program Nov. 21, 2018 and have since only received an email from the administrators saying they are backed up and hope to bring in people by 2019.
The Think Vermont Remote Worker Grant Program is another remote-only program that seeks to pull free-moving workers into lower-demand areas. Having frozen my arse off in Vermont for about two years, I can attest to its characteristics: It’s rural in most areas, but Burlington is a bustling little city, and the skiing is unreal.
If you are a fan of the latter, then you will perk up when you hear Vermont will pay you to move there. Well, technically, it will pay you back for moving there with its Remote Worker Grant Program. This program will pay up to $5,000 of your “qualifying remote work expenses” per year, including relocation expenses (moving trucks, moving company expenses, lease deposits and moving supplies), computer hardware and software, internet fees and equipment, and coworking space rental.
This is a pretty sweet deal, but do your due diligence as Vermont is one of the pricier states to live in, and the cost only goes up as you near places like Burlington.
If there’s an O.G. in the game of paying people who live there, Alaska might be it. Alaska residents voted for the Permanent Fund program in 1976, and the first $1,000 dividend checks went out in 1982. Since then, the fund has risen and fallen, and the dividend checks have changed along with it. In 2018, the checks were $1,600, but they reached an all-time high of $2,072 in 2015.
So, what’s the deal? How do you get this yearly payout? It’s surprisingly easy. Eligibility rules state you must have lived in Alaska during the entire previous year, intend to remain in Alaska at the time you apply for the payment, have not claimed residency in any other state in the previous year, have not have been convicted of a felony or incarcerated for a felony in the previous year, have not have been out of Alaska for more than 180 days for unapproved reasons and have been present in Alaska for at least 72 hours in the previous two years.
There are, of course, some compromises to living in Alaska, namely bitter-cold winters, barely mild summers and months without sunlight in some areas.
Grant County, Indiana
Grant County, Indiana, located a little more than an hour by car northeast of Indianapolis, looks to draw in recent grads with home-purchase and home-rental programs. The Grant for Grads programs give college graduates with at least an associate’s degree and a full-time job in Grant County up to $5,000 in down-payment or closing-cost assistance to buy a home.
If you’re not ready to buy a home, this program works for you too. Renters can get up to 20 percent off their rent as long as it is less than or equal to the HUD Fair Market Rent. There is a $2,500-per-year cap on the discount, and you must sign at least a 12-month lease.
Again, there are requirements you must meet to receive these benefits. First, you must have been at your job in Grant County for less than two years. The rental assistance is only available to those who graduated or moved to Grant County in the last two years. You must pay a $250 processing fee. Finally, the program gives preference to local colleges graduates.
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut has the Re: New Haven program that gives you up to $10,000 to buy your first home, $30,000 to update said home and free in-state college tuition for your children. Of course, there are some stipulations to these great offers.
The $10,000 to buy a home starts as an interest-free loan, but the state forgives the loan after you’ve lived in the home for five years. Plus, you must be a first-time homebuyer. The $30,000 loan has the same interest-free stipulation, but you must live there for 10 years before it’s forgiven. As for the free tuition, this is technically the state’s existing Promise Scholarship, which has strict requirements that begin in ninth grade.
More established folks looking to build a new home will love Harmony, Minnesota’s residential home construction rebate. This rebate is super straightforward with no limits on applicant's age, income level, or residency — it’s simply a straight rebate based on the sale price of the new home — but you must occupy the home and build it on land deeded to the owner, so condos and townhouses will not qualify.
The rebate starts at $5,000 for homes in the $125,000 to $150,000 range. The rebate grows to $6,750 for homes up to $175,000, $8,250 for homes up to $200,000, $10,000 for homes up to $250,000 and $12,000 for homes over $250,000.
Harmony is located about 130 miles southeast of Minneapolis.
Baltimore has several incentives to move there, and they all center on buying a house. First is the Vacants to Value program that offers $10,000 in assistance toward a down payment or closing costs when you buy a vacant property that’s been subject to a vacant building notice from the city for at least one year before being rehabilitated for sale.
The second program is the Buying Into Baltimore program that awards up $5,000 to 30 homebuyers in Maryland's largest city twice a year.
The final program is the Community Development Block Grant homeownership assistance program. This program offers $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time homebuyers with a family income under 80 percent of the median income in the area.
North Platte, Nebraska
Like flat surfaces and a free $5,000? North Platte, Nebraska may be a great place to look for work. The WorkNP initiative seeks to draw new talent to the area with its relocation-reimbursement bonus.
This bonus matches up to $5,000 in relocation bonuses North Platte Area Chamber and Development members offer prospective employees. This bonus can go toward a ton of expenses, including relocation expenses, down payments or deposits for a home, equipment purchases, help with student-loan repayment, specialized training certificates and more.
The only stipulations listed on the programs website are the job must be full time and pay at least $20 per hour within three years, and the company must be in good standing with the North Platte Area Chamber and Development. And as mentioned earlier, this is a matching program, so if the company offers $5,000 in relocation expenses, you get the full $5,000. But if the company offers just $3,000, the program will give you another $3,000.
North Platte is located roughly between the capital of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Denver Colorado.
Hamilton, Ohio took a novel approach to attracting recent grads in high-tech and arts fields with its Talent Attraction Program Scholarship. TAPS is more of a reverse scholarship, as it pays up to $5,000 of a graduate’s student debt for moving into the area and taking a job.
The $5,000 comes in the form of 25 monthly payments of $200, and the applicant loses all remaining payments if they leave the area or stop working.
There are not many stipulations to get the TAPS, but there are a few straightforward eligibility requirements. First, you must have graduated in the last seven years from a science, technology, engineering, arts or mathematics program. You must also live outside Hamilton County but intend to move within the selected areas in the county and get a full-time job in Hamilton County.
Hamilton is located about 30 miles north of Cincinnati.
There’s no place like home…if your idea of a great home includes free land. That’s exactly what you can get if you move to Lincoln, Kansas. This small town, located about 130 miles northwest of Wichita, is offering free parcels of land in a new subdivision that range from 12,000 to 36,000 square feet. What’s more, all these plots qualify for the city’s 10-year tax rebate program.
Getting your hands on this free land requires a quick application, but there are no other strict requirements to the program.
Obviously, there’s plenty of land in the Midwest that’s free for the taking, as Curtis, Nebraska is offering it too. This small town has a pair of developments, Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course and Roll’n Hills, ripe for the picking but lacking customers, so the city has stepped in to offer the land for free.
There are some stipulations to the program, including the timeframe to build, so you’ll want to reach out to the administrators for all the specifics.
The city of Lincoln is about 220 miles to the east, and the closest large city is Denver, Colorado, about 300 miles to the west.
St. Clair County, Michigan
St. Clair County, Michigan looks to attract recent graduates in select fields with a reverse-scholarship offer that’ll help relieve some student-loan stress. This scholarship can be worth up to $15,000 dollars, and the county will pay it out on a quarterly basis. Of course, there are stipulations to getting this money.
First, you cannot live in or be in the process of moving to St. Clair County. You must also have graduated in the last 10 years with at least a two-year degree in a science, technology, engineering, arts or math field. Since this award goes toward student debt, you must have an outstanding loan balance, and the quarterly payments stop once you move out of the county. Finally, you must secure a job or open a business within 120 days of receiving the award.
St. Clair County is roughly 60 miles northeast downtown Detroit.