Free Land: An Overview
There was a time, back in the 1800s, when homesteading meant free land. Read the Homestead Act to find out more. Anyone who could travel to a place on the frontier and begin to work the land could claim the property as their own. Things have changed since then, but one thing remains true: homesteading in modern society is a choice, albeit a tough one. It means a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but living off the land can still be done. And, in certain cases, the land upon which to do so can be free.
Of course, the word “free” comes with its own caveats. In most cases in modern day America, free land comes with a set of requirements, ranging from a minimum square footage for any home you build on your new land, to a mandated amount of acreage to be actively farmed. But still, in certain places in the U.S., the land itself comes without a price tag. And we think that’s pretty neat.
Why hasn’t all the free land been snatched up already? Well, let’s remember that moving to a place where free land is offered may not be for everyone. First off, most of the sites that offer free land are in small communities that need growth. That may mean the lack of basic amenities like a shopping plaza or a movie theater (or even high-speed internet for streaming you entertainment). There may not be much going on in these communities, and you will need to be comfortable living in such a rural environment. However, it may be worth it, because you won’t need to pay property or state income taxes, and you will most likely be a location where your love of nature will be rewarded.
The U.S federal government used to offer such incentives, but no more. Now only some states offer such programs, including Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Colorado. Each local program has a range of different requirements that you should research to make sure that you qualify.
Free Land In Iowa
One such town is Marne, Iowa. Here the Marne Housing and Development Corporation has made several lots available for both private and commercial use. There are some restrictions such as what type of house can be built, and what livestock is allowed. And honestly, since the availability of free land has been made public regarding Marne, the town’s phone lines have been overrun and websites attached to the giveaway have been taken down. But the city of Manilla, Iowa still has a page open, touting the amenities that are available to families who move to occupy its free lots. Click here to learn more.
Marne, in case you can find a way in that still exists, also has modern utilities and is very close to some large cities. It has high speed internet, phone service and cable. So you won’t be off the grid, technically, but you’ll be remote.
Free Land In Kansas
There are several towns in Kansas that have created incentives to bring more people into their community to live and work, thereby supporting the local economy and helping to keep these small towns going into the 21st century.
The primary goal of these programs is to use local governments to help in development of communities that are currently suffering economically. Cities include Mankato, Marquette, and Lincoln.
Each city has specific guidelines and an application inviting people to apply to the free residential lots. Most of the time free lots are available only for families who can build a new home within a certain period, and they usually will have specific size requirements. There is usually an interview process with the local city council as well.
See this website for info on Marquette, touting itself as “one of Kansas’ best kept secrets.” From “wide open, rolling fields” to family activities in the town, Marquette is doing its best to sell the idea of moving to this rural, quiet area.
Free Land In Minnesota
One of the towns that still has an operational website about land available is New Richmond, Minnesota. Right here in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” the land is free, but property owners will be assessed “for part of the cost to develop your property with streets, curbs, gutter, water and sewer,” a bill that could approach $25,000.00. So it’s no joke; you have to be serious about your investment to get these “free” plots. On the plus side, larger towns are not far away, and you will have access to the “Riverview Golf Course [and the] St. Olaf Lake Beach and Parks and Bike Trail.” The idea, boiled down to basic terms, is that your household will be a part of the town’s regeneration and livelihood going into coming decades. They need you, just as you need the land and location to establish your homestead.
And New Richmond isn’t alone. The town of Claremont has an income-based arrangement for new homesteaders coming in who need land. Those who earn above the income ceiling can expect to pay $9,500.00 for their lot.
Free Land in Colorado
The township of Flagler, Colorado, 110 miles east of Denver, has what they call a “Free Land Incentive Program.” They are a farming and ranching community with a population of around 650, and they’ve already partnered with businesses moving in to establish operations by the railroad tracks, with grants and other incentives available. Check this website to find out more.
There’s no doubt in our minds that Colorado, watched over by the sentinel mountains of the Rockies, would be a great place to establish your family homestead and a business that takes advantage of the open land. You may even discover and fill a niche in the market that demands expansion into other localities. And you’ll have to be aware of zoning and other laws and guidelines, but we say, if the land’s free, that open up a lot of resources for other things!
We hope that if you’re in the running for some free property, that this article has whetted your appetite for the further research and investigation you’ll be doing. If you come across any helpful hints or have stories of your own, feel free to post them in the comments below. Godspeed!