In an age where it feels out of reach for many people to become homeowners or landowners, it might surprise you that there are ways to get land for free in the USA. But it’s true—you can!
Of course, there are a couple of caveats:
- You’ll often have to meet certain requirements to get the land for free
- The land might be restricted to certain uses (sometimes you can live there, sometimes start a business), and you’ll need savings and plans to build
- You can’t expect the most amazing plots of land in the hottest metropolitan areas (but you can find decent ones in small towns)
Let’s dive into your options for free land in the United States!
Where Can You Get Land for Free in USA?
The short answer: you can find free land offers in small towns, cities, and rural communities that are trying to attract more people or businesses.
Sometimes, you’ll be required to use the land for a primary residence (usually of a certain size, within a certain time frame, and meeting other requirements). Other times, the free land will be zoned for commercial purposes, so you’ll need to use it to start a business. Or, free land may be available for community development purposes (e.g. turning it into a community garden).
The long answer? Check out the towns below where you can find free land programs in the US!
Free Land in Colorado
Flagler, Colorado: Colorado is a popular state, but most people think about areas like Denver and Boulder—not Flagler, a small town 120 miles east of Denver. The free land here is geared toward business owners, and the amount of land you can get will be decided by how many jobs your company can bring to the town. See more details here.
Free Land in Iowa
Manilla, Iowa: Get a free lot to build a single-family home in this small Iowa town. Twelve homes have already been built under this program, and more are available for their second phase. See more details here.
Marne, Iowa: This town is about an hour from both Des Moines and Omaha, so you’ll be able to get into the city relatively conveniently from this small town. Free residential lots are available for homebuilders, and their site describes them as friendly to businesses. See more details here.
Free Land in Kansas
Lincoln, Kansas: Free residential lots are available for people to build new homes in Lincoln. It’s an attractive suburban area near plenty of amenities. You’ll need to submit plans for your house and proof of financial means, along with a refundable deposit. See more details here.
Marquette, Kansas: Marquette is another small, friendly Kansas town offering residential lots for homebuilding. See more details here.
Mankato, Kansas: Rural life welcomes new homebuilders in this Kansas town with under 1,000 residents. To successfully apply, you’ll need a written agreement with a contractor to start construction within 6 months. See more details here.
Osborne, Kansas: Enjoy outdoorsy life in this scenic small town in the hills along the Solomon River. With residential properties, you’ll need to complete construction of your home within a year of being approved. There’s also commercial property available for businesses. See more details here.
Plainville, Kansas: Oil workers might be a great fit for this town, located north of one of Kansas’ largest oil fields. This one has generous timing requirements: you get 6 months to find a contractor and 18 to complete construction. You’ll be asked to personally meet with the city council when you apply. See more details here.
Free Land in Nebraska
Curtis, Nebraska: Lots are available for residential and commercial use in Curtis, so maybe you could move and start a business! See more details here.
Loup City, Nebraska: Golf courses and fishing lakes are part of the reason retirees like to live here, but the town also wants to attract younger residents and families. Their website here may be under construction, but you can also call the Sherman County Economic Development Office at (308) 745-5040 to enquire about the free lot program.
Free Land in New York
Buffalo, New York: This option stands out among the others, since it’s not in a small Midwestern town, but a northeastern city. Buffalo’s free land “Urban Homestead” program comes in a few different forms. Current residents can apply for vacant lots that neighbor their property. Aspiring residents can submit plans to build a home on a vacant lot or rehabilitate an existing structure in an eligible area. See more details here.
Free Land in Minnesota
Claremont, Minnesota: If your household gross income is below $91,800 (1-2 people) or $105,000 (3+ people), you can qualify for a free lot in Claremont. Use the lot to build a single-family home that meets their requirements. See more details here.
New Richland, Minnesota: Minnesota is called the “land of 10,000 lakes,” and New Richland has one of them at St. Olaf Lake. While the lot itself is free to build a home here, you’ll be assessed about $25,000 to develop your property with streets, water, sewer, etc. Instead of paying this up-front, you’ll pay yearly along with real-estate taxes. See more details here.
Thinking about moving to free land? Which town sounds best to you?
Kate is a writer and editor who runs her content and editorial businesses remotely while globetrotting as a digital nomad. So far, her laptop has accompanied her to New Zealand, Asia, and around the U.S. (mostly thanks to credit card points). Years of research and ghostwriting on personal finance led her to the FI community and co-founding DollarSanity. In addition to traveling and outdoor adventure, Kate is passionate about financial literacy, compound interest, and pristine grammar.