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Remote Workers: 32 Cities and States that Pay You to Move There

remote workers get paid to move

By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC, Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.

If you’ve ever visited a place and thought to yourself, “I wouldn’t live there if they paid me!” Believe it or not, there are places that pay you to live there, and some pay very well indeed. Compensation packages for bringing “talent” to a city isn’t a new concept, but remote working and pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic have added a new spin on the idea.

People who get paid to move and work are now very often Millennial and Gen-Z tech workers, professionals such as software developers or social media marketers looking to work remotely in quieter, less expensive, and less urban locales.

The pandemic opened the door to more people working from home or remotely from their office. It also gave people an appreciation of space, both indoors and outdoors, as they spent months locked inside their homes.

The enticements offered by local and state governments are often significant. Many involve home-building grants, where the municipality will supply the land – usually a development already subdivided and now in its building stage. The deal is often that the city provides the land, and you provide the rest.

One of the cities that pay you to live there is an area in the southwest corner of Michigan, 90 miles west of Chicago. New residents choosing to live in one of the designated zip codes named in the program can get a $15,000 grant distributed in $5,000 increments over three years. The grant is forgivable and can include other benefits like a free gym membership, a co-workspace membership, or a 12-month public transit pass.

Topeka, Kansas is putting up an $11,000 incentive package for anyone buying a home, or $5,000 towards rent for anyone willing to move to Topeka and enjoy their 10% lower cost of living than the average U.S. city.

So far, many of these relocation incentive programs have been successful in attracting new talent. Vermont’s New Worker Relocation Grant Program is no longer accepting applications. The program, which started in January 2020, was fully subscribed by October 2020. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the state legislature are evaluating additional funding for the continuation of the program during the 2021 Legislative Session.

A relocation program in Chattanooga, Tennessee called GeekMove entices tech workers with $10,000 toward a new home and $1,250 for moving expenses when it launched in 2020. It is now closed for new applicants.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma relocation program, Tulsa Remote, which launched in 2018, awarded applicants $10,000 to move to the city for a year. The program also offered special deals on apartment rentals, co-working memberships, lectures, and social activities. Tulsa Remote announced recently that it brought 600 people to Tulsa, 90% of whom stayed beyond their 12-month commitment.

If you’d like to find a home to buy in one of the cities that pay you to relocate or not, or if you have a home to sell, Global Property Systems can help you relocate locally, nationally or globally. 



Live and work in the communities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia, Alabama. Located less than 70 miles from Huntsville in the northwest corner of Alabama, the Shoals, as it’s known, is famous for its connection to southern music in general and the Lynrd Skynrd band in particular. Like many small towns in the south, life is slower, less expensive, and friendlier than in other parts of the country. A median-priced 3-bedroom, two-bath home weighs in at just $164,500.

Incentive offer value: $10,000

Requirements: Applicants must show an annual income of $52,000 from full-time remote employment outside of the Shoals counties and must be able to move within six months of approval.


Alaska is one of the states that pay you to move there. It has an annual $1,000 award for permanent residents, paid by the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program.

Incentive offer value: $1,000 annually for as long as you live there and file annually.

Requirements: All you need to do is move there and file as a permanent resident.



Northwest Arkansas is a metropolitan area surrounding Fayetteville, including Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, and the surrounding towns in Benton, Madison, and Washington. The area is aggressively pursuing remote employment “talent” to live and work in the area. Northwest Arkansas boasts its cost of living, vital arts and cultural life, and a per-capita income 14% above the national average.

Incentive offer value: $10,000 and a free mountain bike.

Requirements: Candidates must be at least 24 years of age, with two years of work experience, and be currently employed. Applicants must live outside Arkansas and be able to move within six months. And apparently, be able to ride a mountain bike.



The Savannah Economic Development Authority is hoping to tempt technology workers with three years of experience to move to this deep-south city. Savannah and the Chatham County area is steeped in history and home to the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark Districts.

Incentive offer value: $2,000 to offset moving expenses. Additional job-creation grants are available.

Requirements: Three years experience as a self-employed or remote worker for any tech firm located outside the area.



You wouldn’t think Hawaii would need to offer incentives to get people to live and work there, but their “Movers and Shakas Program” actively pursues remote workers with travel incentives, co-working space, and other perks for applicants who must work part-time on community volunteer programs. The term of the program is only 30 days.

Incentive offer value: $2,500

Requirements: Must be 18 and live in the continental United States. Must have a remote work



Purdue University, the engineering bastion for builders and boilermakers, has a program to allow remote workers to live and work on campus, access university resources, and rub shoulders with a community of like-minded tech workers educators.

Incentive offer value: $5,000


Candidates must be fully employed remote workers living outside of Indiana and willing to relocate to West Lafayette. Subject to approval.

Cities that pay you to move there



Osceola’s Building Incentive Program, created in 2017, is a revolving fund program that lets individuals wishing to build a new home acquire land in virtually any part of the city using financing in lieu of a tax abatement that many homebuyers get when buying a new home. The fund gives builders immediate equity, which can be used for construction and materials.

Incentive offer value: $3,000

Requirements: Must be new home construction. Qualified candidates can build practically anywhere in Osceola if it meets specific requirements.


Manilla is a small farm community in western Iowa. Homes are inexpensive there – the median home value for a 3 bedroom 2 bath home is under six figures at $95,000. Your single-family home in this quiet Iowa town will be an even better bargain with a free lot provided by the town for new construction.

Incentive offer value: $3,000



If you really want to get away from it all and settle into the new home, which you’ll be working very remotely from, Bloomfield is waiting for you. This rural town, located on the Missouri/Iowa border, has a population of 2,689, a regional airport 53 miles away, and is 79 miles from the nearest Target store. You can build there and save $10,000 on a new construction home via the town’s tax credit for new homes.

Incentive offer value: $15,000

Requirements: Homes built in an existing TIF area qualify for a $15,000 cash incentive. Homes built outside an existing TIF district are eligible for a $10,000 cash incentive and will receive a three-year property tax abatement.


Britt is another one of those places that pay you to move there. Anyone wanting to live and work in this very rural community can have a free building lot as long as it meets a 20-point list of requirements. Once a stop on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul railroad line, Britt is now famous for the National Hobo Convention, held annually since 1900.

Incentive offer value: $10,000.

Requirements: Too long to list here, but one condition forbids “noxious or offensive activities…which may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.” Click the link for the full list.


This home to 15,000 Iowans fifty miles from Des Moines was named one of the “Top Affordable Small Towns Where You’d Actually Want to Live” by in 2015. Newton’s offer of a free lot up to $10,000 for new home construction also comes with a “Getting to Know You” welcome package of discounts at local restaurants and shops in Newton. The median home value in Newton is $107,000, so if your home is worth less than $100,000, you’re entitled to a tax abatement in accordance with the City-Wide Urban Revitalization Plan.

Incentive offer value: $12,500.

Requirements: An appraisal of the property minus the land value must be performed, and a certificate of occupancy filed.



In Lincoln, you can get paid to move and work there, with a free, construction-ready building lot for your new home. In 2004, the town agreed to give away residential sites on a new sub-division built within the city limits. The sub-division is fully finished, with curbs and gutters and the 21 lots ready for construction, connected to two cul-de-sacs. Each lot is fully connected to underground services. Builders will qualify for a ten-year property tax rebate program.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various


If Internet speed rating is important to your remote employment, you may want to skip Mankato. Located in north-central Kansas, Mankato’s Internet speed is calculated at the dismal rate of 35 Mbps. That being said, it makes up for its low connectivity with a splendid offer of a free lot in the Johnson addition. One of 26, the addition is close to the high school, hospital, and the community shopping center.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Among other items, applicants need pre-approval, have lending arrangements, and be ready to complete construction within two years from taking possession of the land to build a home of no less than 1,200 square feet.


As the fifth-largest city (by population) in Kansas, Topeka is a hub of business and culture on the central U.S. prairie. It enjoys a lower cost of living that’s 10% below similar cities nationwide. That said, Topeka is willing to give new residents $10,000 for anyone buying a house in the county or $5,000 for rent there within a year of moving in.

Incentive offer value: $10,000 plus a gift of $1,000 worth of Jimmy John’s sandwiches. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat them all at once.

Requirements: The home must be the owner’s primary residence and located in Shawnee County. The owner must move to Topeka for a full-time position and be eligible to work in the U.S.


This rural town was settled by Czech immigrants in the late 1870s. It celebrates its past with several festivals and heritage traditions. It is currently offering free residential lots in the new Prairie Estates development. The offer is open to all applicants but for approval, applicants must build a home and meet modest building requirements.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various.


Osborne is located in North Central Kansas, on the southwest fork of the Solomon River. It is the geodetic center of North America, where all maps begin at zero. The town offers several local business incentives that include free residential lots for residents located in the Sunset Addition on Osborne’s western edge, north of Main Street.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various.


Marquette started its free land for new residents program in 2005 when the mayor announced the plan to attract businesses (jobs) and residents to their town of 746. More than 30 free lots are remaining. Residents are required to pay for hookup and utility fees of about $400 a year.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various.



So do you feel lucky, punk? If you do, you may win a down payment and closing assistance grant in the city’s “Buying Into Baltimore” program. Awarded by lottery to twenty lucky home buyers from a pool of qualifying applicants, Registrants must register in the ten business days between the Live Baltimore Trolley Tour event and the drawing day and earn a Homeownership Counseling Certificate before making an offer on your house. It’s not one of the places that pay you to live there, but hey, five grand is a nice part of a down payment.

Incentive offer value: $5,000.

Requirements: Numerous. Click the link.



Southwest Michigan’s municipalities are attracting residents with a program to give new arrivals a $15,000 forgivable grant when they buy a home in one of their lakeside communities. Along with the grant, which is released over three years, remote workers can pick from a menu of additional rewards, including an annual beach pass, co-working space membership, a year of car service to and from area airports, or two VIP passes to the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA golf championship.

Incentive offer value: $16,000.

Requirements: No current Michigan residents need apply. Qualifying home purchases are limited to zip codes 49022, 49085, 49103, and 49127. Must be a full-time Michigan resident and claim the home as a primary residence, among other restrictions. Click the link.



Bemidji’s 218 Relocate program is part cash, part benefits for the first year. Cash is $2,500 in reimbursed moving expenses and or telecommuter expenses not already covered by employer or company expense accounts. Benefits are high-speed internet and a one-year membership in

co-working facilities, access to community concierge program, and teleworking support.

Incentive offer value: $4,000 plus a $1,500 gift benefits.

Requirements: Various.


Harmony is located in very-southern Minnesota corn and soybean country. It is near several Amish and Mennonite communities that were established there in the late 19th century. The town is famous for Niagra Cave, one of the country’s largest and a popular tourist attraction. Harmony offers remote workers $5,000 to $12,000 in cash rebates (on a sliding scale based on market value) for moving to and building in the area.

Incentive offer value: $5,000 to $12,000.

Requirements: Spec and model homes qualify. No restrictions or limits on the applicant’s income, age, or residency. Rebates must be claimed by 12 months from the date of possession.


This corn-and-bean country farm community created 12 building lots for its Buildable Lot Program, available to new residents. The lots are free to qualifying applicants depending on income level, limited to one per family. Additional lots can be purchased for a fee of $9,500.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various.


Who knew you could get paid to move and work in this charming Minnesota community that’s commutable to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Remote workers are only 90 minutes away from the Twin Towns via Interstate 35 but can skip the commute and enjoy working from their new country home on its free building lot courtesy of New Richland.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.



For towns like Halstad, located 30 miles north of Fargo, North Dakota, Minnesotans like to say it may not be at the end of the earth, but you can see it from there. You can have a free building lot with a raft of reimbursements added to the deal to live there. For building and moving to Halstad, you get electrical, sewer, and water connections fee-free, with the first 75 feet of meter costs reimbursed. You also get special tax assessments deferred for two years with 14 years to pay and a five-year tax abatement of your city taxes.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements: Various.


The Janesville New Home Purchaser Rebate Program provides a cash rebate to homeowners purchasing and living in homes built in 2020 and 2021 in Janesville. Anyone is eligible for the rebate, which is based on the value of the house constructed. After one year of residency, homeowners can apply for and receive a full rebate of up to $1,730.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements:  Not many. Income limits do not apply. Owner must occupy the first year, utility payments must be in good standing after the first year, and the property must not be used as a rental. Surprisingly inexpensive (median home price $90,000)



Natchez, one of the jewels of the south, and just two and a half hours down a lazy river to New Orleans, is putting on all its charms to attract remote workers, with up to $8,500 in cash and reimbursements. New homeowners start by getting a $2,500 relocation reimbursement and a homeownership stipend of $300 a month for a year. All remote workers need to do is buy a primary residence for $150,000 or more and live in it for one year while working remotely.

Incentive offer value: $8,500.

Requirements:  Click the link for complete eligibility information.



Like Curtis, cities that will pay you to move there often get creative and offer combination deals to remote workers moving in – free land AND cash. Along with a building lot for your home, Curtis will pay family grants per child up to $1,000. Curtis also has commercial land to give away and couples it with generous start-up funds and tax-increment financing.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements:  Click the link for complete eligibility information.


Build a home on one of the available 100’x115 lots in Elwood’s Wheatfield Addition and be close to schools, parks, and a community pool. Six homes have already been built, but there are more available for the interested remote worker who fancies the upper-Midwest.

Incentive offer value: $3,000.

Requirements:  Various



Buffalo continues to be recognized as a great place to live by media outlets, including Forbes, Time Magazine, and CBS News. This NFL town is seeking to grow through its Urban Homestead Program, which incentivizes the sale or homesteading of city-owned properties with purchase discounts of up to $2,500 on below-value lots and rehab homes.

Incentive offer value: $2,500.

Requirements:  Various



If you are a recent college graduate (up to 7 years ago), you can get paid to move and work in Hamilton, Ohio, through their reverse scholarship program, TAP (Talent Attraction Program). Get up to $10,000 in $300 monthly payments to move to one of the city’s designated areas and hold down a professional position from home or otherwise.

Incentive offer value: $10,000.

Requirements:  Applicant must have graduated in the last seven years from a STEAM program (Science, TechnologyEngineering, Arts or Mathematics, and must move from non-designated areas of the city. The scholarship is canceled if the applicant moves away or discontinues full-time employment.



Tulsa Remote offers a $10,000 grant for remote workers to build or buy a home. The offer is intended to help first-time homeowners with upfront cash to be used as part of a down payment.

Incentive offer value: $10,000.

Requirements:  Must move to Tulsa in 2021 and have full-time remote or self-employment outside of Oklahoma.



Ontario wants new residents to use a $10,000 cash incentive to build a home or buy an existing one that can be annexed into the city. Some requirements apply, including the property be used for single family occupancy, be over 1,600 square feet or 1,350 square feet, and include a two-car garage and two bathrooms.

Incentive offer value: $10,000.

Requirements: Click the link for complete eligibility information.

Contact us if you’d like to find a home in one of the cities that pay you to relocate or elsewhere, or if you have a home to sell, Global Property Systems can help you relocate locally, nationally or globally. 


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