All the way back in 1862, there was an act introduced in the USA called the Homestead Act. It provided the land for different homesteaders in order for them to build themselves homes and run farms on the land. This act is however not in effect anymore in the modern world, which is why getting free federal government land for the purposes of homesteading in 2024 is not possible. But this is not the end of it though. Questions are raised because of this, like for example, are there any options of homesteading in the USA, and is there free land available at all?
The simple answer to this is yes. In this article, we will go over the many options regarding how one can get land for free inside the borders of the United States of America. In most of the rural states and counties, the governments are offering free land in an attempt to help attract more business and a more diverse economic activity. In the list underneath, you will be presented with all of the available programs in different states and counties currently in option. Also, perhaps the best part of the article is at the very end, so make sure to read it thoroughly.
States and Counties with Free Land in 2024
- Marquette, Kansas
This is an extraordinary small town located in the heart of America. This is exactly how the citizens of Marquette, Kansas describe themselves and their small town. Here, you are able to get free home lots if you are willing to build a home and work on it. There are some conditions of course. You have to start building the home within 120 days of getting your piece of land. Next, you have 12 months to complete the minimum, which is a 1,000 square feet home that meets all of the residential design standards. The small town of Marquette has its laws set out plain and simple, and you can find more on their official web page.
- Lincoln, Kansas
We are staying in Kansas with this one. Lincoln has a free home site program that offers land on which you can build within city limits, and the locations are near a baseball field and a park. In addition, this location is close to the town golf course, while it only takes you 45 minutes of driving to reach some big shopping malls. The city has around 3,500 people living in it and covers 720 square miles. There are lots of ram animals and buffalos there, and extremely little petty crime. To find out more, go to their website.
- Mankato, Kansas
The third place in Kansas on the list is the City of Mankato, a small place with a population of some 900 people. This town offers land for home construction to those willing to join in on their small-town fun and atmosphere. All of the available lots are close to the school, hospital, shopping center, and restaurants. Some requirements have to be met, as you must build at least a 1,200 square feet home, and the construction has to start within six months after you get the land.
- Osborne, Kansas
The City of Osborne in Kansas is a unique place, mostly because it is a place that offers free land for the residential, as well as commercial purposes. This means that you can open a business here if you like for free. In addition to this, the town also offers some interesting low-interest loans and business incentives. They do all of this in order to increase economic activity and the quality of life in their small community. They require you to put down a deposit of $500, which they, of course, return once your home is complete and you are ready to move in.
- Plainville, Kansas
The last place in Kansas we have for you is Plainville. It has a population of 2,000 people, and it is located in Rooks County. This community offers those looking to move in 155 by 93 feet pieces of land for free as an effort to grow their community and expand. They have several requirements, one of which is meeting the local council when you apply for the land. The rest you will hear at the meeting, or visit their website for more.
- Curtis, Nebraska
In Curtis, Nebraska, you can construct a single-family home on the land they give you for free. You will have to meet the requirements and complete it in a specific time frame in order to be eligible. Also, Curtis, Nebraska offers lots of various different sizes, and all are located on paved roads. If you are interested, do more research on the official page for this program on their webpage.
- Beatrice, Nebraska
We are still in Nebraska, but we move to Beatrice, a place that has their own homesteading act. It is called the Homestead Act of 2010, and it basically replaces the aforementioned Homestead Act of 1862 that has been made inactive by the government. In exchange for their land, you must start building your house within six months of acquiring the land and finish it within a year.
- Loup City, Nebraska
The third Nebraskan town we have for you is Loup City, and they actually offer two different programs that can give you free property. One is Workforce Homes, and the other one is Market Rate Homes. As a part of the Workforce Homes program, they allow free residential lots to people that have a qualified income, as well as asset levels. What is more, they also have the option to receive up to $20,000 in down payment assistance. The second program is for the Market Rate Homes, which are issued on the good old first-come-first-serve basis. These lots require you to put down a $1,000 deposit which you get back when you complete your house.
- Elwood, Nebraska
The last place in Nebraska today is Elwood, a small village with many free lots of land where you can build a new home. So far, six homes have been built as a part of this program, on lots that are 100 by 150 feet. The minimum home size has to be 1,400 square feet, and have a two-car garage. Check out their website for more information.
- Marne, Iowa
We now move to Iowa, to the small town of Marne. This lovely place has 80 by 120 foot lots that you can claim for free, provided that you build a home on it within 18 months of getting the lot. The home must not be smaller than 1,200 square feet. No livestock or farm animals are allowed on these properties, however, and you can only keep pets like cats and dogs. For a farm home, you will have to look somewhere else.
- Manilla, Iowa
Manilla in Iowa is famous for the very low cost of living. If you add free land on which you can build a home to that equation, you can start a new life here for a small amount of money. If you are interested in this place and their program, do some online research and get in contact with the right people.
- Anderson, Alaska
If a remote place is where you would want to live, and if a small population of under 300 people is your cup of tea, Anderson, Alaska is the place to be. Just keep in mind that the place does not have grocery stores, gas stations, or public street lights. If you are still interested in free land here, you should now that they are among the biggest fans of the homesteading practice. You can apply with a $500 deposit that you get back upon completing your house.
- New Richland, Minnesota
The small Minnesotan town has various different things to do in your leisure time. They have a neat golf course, a large lake, a well-made bike trail, and much more. The lots the offer are 86 by 133 feet, and you have to finish your home within a year of acquiring it.
- Claremont, Minnesota
One more place in Minnesota we have for you is Claremont. They admit that they got the idea of homesteading from New Richland. Now, they offer lots of land for free to those who qualify and meet their requirements. For starters, your gross income has to be north of $84,200 for a family of two, and more than $96,830 for a family of three. If you earn as much, you are free to apply for a lot of lands.
- Flagler, Colorado
110 miles east of Denver is where Flagler, Colorado has allotted 480 of free acreage for businesses to set up shop. The amount of land with Flagler, Colorado’s free land program you can receive will depend on the number of jobs the business will create for this small town of approximately 650 people. This is a perfect opportunity to set up a homesteading business for cheap. In fact, regular people like Paola Gonzales can rise to fame like Shannon Hayes with the right tools.
- Muskegon, Michigan
The City of Muskegon, Michigan is larger than the ones we mentioned so far. It offers free industrial park properties for different businesses to establish themselves and operate within its borders. The lots are all located in the Michigan Renaissance Zones, and they come with such bonuses as tax incentives, reduced water and electricity rates, and much more. If you want a business in Michigan, consider Muskegon.
- Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York has its own Urban Homestead program in which they offer lots of land for a hefty price of $1. There is a variety of options in this program, and some pieces of land already have homes built on them, which you will have to renovate according to the town requirements.
- Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
In Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio, you are not really getting a free lot of land to keep. Still, it is worthy of being on the list. In this Ohioan town, for between $500 and $1000 monthly, you can have land that ranges from 9 to 12 acres, which comes with a house. This program was set in place in order to give the farmers affordable land to work from.
- Yukon, Canada
If you want to go north of the United States and still be able to take part in a homesteading program, how about Yukon in Canada? The neighboring country to the north has a great program in place in which you can get land for the purposes of agriculture. However, the hard part here is that you must be a Canadian resident and live in Yukon for at least one whole year before you become eligible to acquire your piece of land. Although much more difficult than the previous entries, it is still an option to consider.
Now that we have seen where the best places are for free land, let us go over some alternative options.
Those who opt to help out on other people’s farms can have a free place to live. Both long and short-term time periods are available for this. Farms across the whole of the United States are always looking for the much-needed help on their farms, in exchange for the basic necessities that workers need, including free rent. This is not a free piece of land you get to own, but it is a great option to learn more about the world of farming or to meet some great new people and have a free place to call home while you are still going over your other options.
There are also many programs that exist which offer affordable loans and grants for agricultural work. New ones are constantly appearing, and it is worth checking them out and paying attention to something useful. Check out the website of USDA every once in a while to look for opportunities with free land for farming and living.
Have you ever heard of land hacking? This is another way to get things cheaper, or entirely free. How it works is easy. You buy extra land, in this case, it is land, and keep only a part of it for yourself. Then, you off the extra land for as much as you paid for the full lot. The result is a free piece of land on which you live. This is quite easy to do.
First, you find and buy a large and undervalued piece of land. Then you rent some of it while you are still waiting for it to rise in value a bit. While this is going on, you build and develop the part which you will live in and work on. When the value of your land rises, you simply sell the part you were renting and cover the costs of the whole land in its entirety. This is how you end up with free land.
Of course, this is much, much easier said than done, and it will take you a lot of work, time, and a little luck to achieve. Still, this is probably the best way how you can gain free land in a place that you chose for yourself. You are not limited by locations that you do not like enough to call home. You can practically do this anywhere.
What you will have to know how to do is locate undervalued land, as well as how to rent farmland. Do not worry, however, as this is not nuclear physics, and it is actually completely viable and doable. You just need the right amount of quality planning, a will to succeed, and the courage to make the first step!