Not a lot of people know that they are some places where you can live off the grid for free. There are several counties that offer free land, some offer it for off grid lining while others require you to get connected to the grid, although you can still live partially off the grid. Although “free land” comes with several requirements, generally speaking, most counties offering free land want to increase their dwindling population, others might want to boost the local economy.
The good news is that you can get free land for off grid living and all you have to do is to build a house or a homestead in most cases. Some counties even offer incentives for building a small property, although how much they are willing to help depends on the county or the town. I will mostly focus on areas in the US that offer free land, although there are plenty of places that have similar offers around the world.
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You will have to apply for free land in the specific county where the land is offered, usually, this process is around 30-60 days until you get a response, although sometimes it can be faster. Once you get the free land you will have anything between 90-180 days to start building your homestead. The good news is that you will get the building permits fairly fast. If you are not able to start the construction in around 180 days then you will lose the free land.
Just make sure you read the contract carefully, what is required from you if there are any restrictions to which you should abide, and always follow the local building code. Some counties which offer free land require you to pay a special tax, on top of the tax, just make sure you understand all the terms and conditions and you don’t end up in a position where you have free land but they tax you through the roof for it. Areas that offer free land for off grid living are not the best, if you want to take a look at which places are the best for off grid living then check out my recent article Best places to live off the grid in the world ( Top 25 ).
1. Buffalo NY
Buffalo has been offering free land for a couple of decades already, although the land is not actually free and it costs $1. It is not clear if you can live completely off the grid or only partially at this time. Some of the plots of land have houses already built on them, you can also get these for free but you will have to renovate the property and to fix any violations of the building code the property may have.
Do note that some building code violations can not be fixed without bulldozing the entire property so make sure in what you get into before you commit to it. The program is called the Urban Homestead Program, which has the main aim to occupy the vacant properties. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to check out the property with an engineer to get an idea of how much it would cost you to renovate it.
2. Lincoln KS
Lincoln is a small town with around 3500 residents, the population has been on the decline for a couple of decades already so the local authorities try to give people a sweet deal if they move here. From an off grid living stand of point, Kansas is excellent, the climate is mild and you have plenty of options for growing crops. The local authorities offer the Free Home Site Program, which are plots of land already connected to the grid.
You will have to build a house on the property and you are not allowed to sell it for around 3 years, although even after 3 years you will still not be able to sell if the demand for housing is extremely low in this area. The bad news is that you will probably not be able to live completely off the grid but partially, most of the plots of land are fairly large so you will have no problem setting up a small garden. If you want to know more about off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Kansas ( The Sunflower State ).
3. Marquette KS
Marquette is another small town in the middle of Kansas, they more or less offer the same as Lincoln does although there are some small differences. The land is given for free although you are required to build a house with a minimum of 1,000 sq. ft. The other differences are that you have only 120 days to start the building process and you have around 12 months to finish it http://www.marquettekansas.com/land.html.
4. Baltimore MD
If you want to live off the grid in Baltimore then you probably be only able to live partially, as the local authorities will not allow you to go off the grid entirely. The local authorities offer the Baltimore Homeownership Incentive Program, which doesn’t actually give land or property for free but it gives around $10k for people who want to buy a basically run-down property. Honestly speaking this is not the best deal that you can get, but it is an extremely cheap way to be a homeowner in Baltimore. If you want to know how is off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Maryland ( Good or Bad? ).
5. Mankato KS
Mankato is one of those small rural towns in the middle of Kansas, currently, it has a population of around 900 residents. The main difference between this town and other towns in Kansas offering free land is that you have 6 months to start building the house, and you have up to two years to complete it. In addition to this, the house has to be 1,200 sq. ft, although there are several restrictions that can be in the 1,200 sq. ft. The program is simply called Free Land https://www.mankatoks.com/free-land.
6. Osborne KS
Osborne has a population of around 1300 residents, and every year the population is dropping. The main difference between Osborne and other areas from Kansas offering free land is that they allow you to also build with commercial intent, although the local economy is struggling to say the last. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to set up a business here, although if you work in an industry like IT then this might just be the right place for you.
You will need to pay a deposit of around $500 when you get the land, this is basically a guarantee which you will get back after you complete your house or commercial property. The good news is that you can live both completely off the grid and partially off the grid in this town.
7. New Haven CT
New Haven offers a lot for people who want to move to the area, it offers up to $30,000 in forgivable loans for renewable energy and free college tuition to students who graduate from the New Haven public school, although the free college tuition is only applicable in the state. In addition to this if you have taken up a loan to build a house and you have lived there for at least 10 years then you will not have to pay the loan back.
8. Plainville KS
Plainville has a population of around 2000 residents, and the local authorities are giving away land for free. The plots of land are fairly large, although you will have to make a deposit of $500 when you get the land, and after you complete the house you will get the deposit back. You have around 18 months to finish the house, although you can extend it in most cases, just make sure to speak with the authorities if this is a possibility. The program is called Free Homesites http://rookscounty.net/free_homesites.
9. Curtis NE
Curtis offers free residential slots for newcomers and also free slots for commercial purposes. In addition to this, the local authorities also offer $1,000 cash for families with children, although you will get this amount only if you have 3 or more children. For families with one child, the incentive is $500, for two children is $750. If I am not mistaking the local authorities also help you out with building the property on the free land, so a win-win situation.
10. Flagler CO
Flagler is a small farming community, and the area attracts a lot of tourists. Flagler offers free land both for building a home and for making a commercial building. The program is called the Free Incentive Land Program and if you want to set up a small business here the local authorities will help you out.
11. La Villa TX
La Villa offers a limited number of plots for housing, so you will probably have to check if they are still available. The land is given for free, you do not have to even make a deposit, but you are not allowed to sell the property for at least five years, if you do you will have to pay for the land. In addition to this, you will have to fulfill some economic requirements if you want to get free land, and after you get the free land you will have to pay the normal property tax.
12. Beatrice NE
Beatrice has a population of around 12k residents and the city is offering free land to anybody who is willing to build a house. The program is called the Homestead Act of 2010, and after you got the free land you have 6 months to start building your homestead and 18 months to finish it.
13. Harmony MN
Harmony has around 1000 residents, although this city doesn’t really offer free land, but it offers cash incentive if you build a house here, the incentive can be anything between $5k-$12k. The good news is that the price of land is fairly low in this area and there are no restrictions on when you have to finish the house and when you can sell it.
14. Agate CO
Agate is one of the best places to live off the grid which also offers free land. The size of the free land is around 60 acres although there are some bigger ones also. If you want to apply to get free land in this area make sure you get land which is meant for agricultural use, this way you can legally grow crops and livestock. After you have got your free plot of land, built your house, and are growing your crops you will have to give a percentage of the crops to the Meadowlark Cooperative, which is a small price to pay.
15. Loup City NE
Loup City offers two kinds of incentives in addition to free land, Market Rate Homes for which you will have to deposit $1k, and you will get back the deposit after you have built your house. The second incentive is called the Workforce Homes Program which is meant for low-income families and they also offer a down payment incentive for building the house of up to $20k. This city has probably one of the best deals when it comes to free land for off grid living and help from the local authorities to build the homestead.
16. Tribune KS
Tribune offers significant help to anybody who is willing to move here, in addition to not having to pay taxes, the local authorities also offer a kind of student loan forgiveness program which is around $15k.
17. Elwood NE
Elwood has a population of only around 700 residents, and the local authorities offer free land for everybody willing to move here. You will need to pay a $500 deposit which you will get back upon the completion of the house. You have around 18 months to complete the house and the minimum size of the house is 1,400 sq. ft. http://www.elwoodnebraska.com/freelots.html.
18. Marne IA
Marne has a population of around 113 residents and every year the population is decreasing. The local authorities offer free land of 80-120 acres, to anybody who builds a house here, you have around 18 months to build the house. The good news is that there is no need to pay any kind of deposit. The bad news is that you are not allowed to grow any kind of livestock on the property, although you can still grow your own crops.
Although the deal might seem sweet, I do not recommend this place, the population is way too low and if the population keeps declining as it has in the previous years then you might find yourself living in a ghost town.
19. New Richland MN
New Richland is a small farming town with around 1100 residents, the local authorities offer free land to anybody who builds a house on the plot, the house has to be built in around 12 months, and there is no deposit needed. Most of the free plots of land are in a new suburb area, where you can live partially off the grid, and there are some plots that are excellent to live completely off the grid and grow crops.
20. Manilla IA
Manilla has a population of around 750 residents, and this place has been offering free land for a while already. There is no deposit needed to get the free land and you have around 18 months to complete the house, although you will have to start building in 3 months after getting the free land.
21. Camden ME
Camden is a very popular tourist destination, although it doesn’t really have anything else going for it other than tourism. The local authorities offer free commercial land to anybody who wants to set up a business in the area. The problem is that there are a lot of restrictions, you will have to pay for the “free land” around $175k, and you will get the money back only if you manage to make a profit with the business and hire 24 people full time. If you have that kind of money you will probably be better off investing it in some other business than here.
22. Claremont MN
Claremont has around 500 residents, the local homesteading land programs offer free land to anybody who is willing to build a house. The good news is that there is no need for a deposit and you have plenty of time to build the house, the bad news is that in order to qualify you will have to earn less than $84,200.
23. Anderson AK
Anderson has around 250 residents, it is giving away free land for people who want to build a homestead. You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the free land and you will get this money back once you complete the homestead. Currently, the program is no longer available, although in the near future it probably will restart so keep an eye on it.
24. Muskegon MI
Muskegon has a population of around 37k residents, the local authorities offer free land for anybody who is willing to set up a business here. There are some requirements as to how many employees the business should have, and how profitable should be in order to keep the free land. On the other hand, the local authorities also offer lower taxes and even utilities for new businesses.
25. Cuyahoga National Park OH
Cuyahoga National Park doesn’t offer free land but it offers an extremely good deal if you want to both live off the grid and grow crops. The local authorities offer plots of land with a house on it and plenty of farmland for rent, the rent is between $500-$1000 per month.
As you can see there are plenty of places which offer free land for not only off grid purposes but for businesses and farmers alike. Do note that free land offers come with several restrictions, although some of them will give you affordable loans to build your homestead, but most of them won’t. In areas where there are less than 1000 residents, it is extremely risky to move even if you get free land, sooner or later you might find yourself alone in the middle of a town.