The Homestead Act first came into effect in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill to promote homesteading where a homesteader would be provided with a land to build a home, farm the land for a minimum of 5 years and make some improvements. This Act provided 160 acres of land to the people willing to homestead in exchange for a small filing fee and the amendments that followed increased the allotments further promoting homesteading in the US. This is now no longer in effect and ended in 1976 with the introduction of Federal Land Policy and Management Act. However, homesteading was allowed until 1986 only in Alaska.
So, you might think that homesteading can be difficult and incur huge costs in today’s times. To some extent this is true, but there are still free land available in the US in this 21st century providing the opportunity for homesteading though limited in number.
1. Lincoln, Kansas
With 3500 total population and no serious reports of any crime, this is a picturesque 720 square mile county with farm animals, buffaloes, and beautiful hillsides. The website of Lincoln states that it has broadband internet, nine miles of Interstate 70 and local medical care.
You will need to apply for free land which is also qualified for their ten-year property tax rebate program to homestead in a suburban setting. The plot sizes vary from 12000 square feet to 36000 square feet where you need to build your house within 18 months from the date of receiving your free land.
2. Plainville, Kansas
This city has a population of approximately 2000 with major city conveniences at a short distance. The lots are 155 feet wide by 93 feet deep where you have to build your new home with a permanent foundation within 18 months, and the construction should start within 12 months. The buyer needs to deposit $500 which is refundable after the end of the deed and must enter into a contract with a building contractor within six months. The lands are also exempt from at least 50% of property tax over a ten year period.
If you are interested, you can apply for the land here.
3. Mankato, Kansas
This is a small town with approximately 900 people where the major industries are agriculture, fishing, outdoor hunting, and healthcare. If you comply with all the terms, you will get free lands for homesteading. As of now, there are 26 lots available where the new home needs to be built in a minimum of 1200 square feet excluding the garage, basement, and porch.
The other building requirements are that it should have an overhang of minimum 18 inches and 5-12 pitch roof, two car garages, and three bedrooms. An agreement needs to be signed with a building contractor, and the building should be completed within two years after getting the possession of the designated lot. Also, at this time there are no assessments against these lots.
Interested individuals can find more details about the free lands here.
4. Marquette, Kansas
This beautiful small town is quite popular for the outdoor activities it offers. Free lands are on offer for homesteading requiring you to apply the same. Once you are allotted a designated lot, you need to start building your home within 120 days and completing it within 12 months. You also need to live in the home for at least a year. The home must be built on a basement or crawl space foundation with residential design standards and a minimum of 5-12 pitch roof.
5. Osborne, Kansas
This city is providing free land for both commercial and residential purposes. However, you need to deposit $500 to get the land which is refunded after the completion of your home. The city also provides with low-interest loans (choose a VA home loan calculator to check it out yourself, figures don’t lie) and business incentives.
You have to complete the home within 12 months from the date the land is allotted to you and needs to move in within 24 months. Also, your home needs to be minimum 1400 square feet on the ground level with a basement or crawl space foundation.
6. Curtis, Nebraska
This city offers two separate sub-division offers with free lands for applicants who qualify for homesteading. All the available lots vary in size with all utilities and are on paved streets.
If you`re interested you can see the lots available and apply right here.
7. Beatrice, Nebraska
Reaping benefits from the original Homestead Act of 1862, this city has incorporated the Homestead Act of 2010 to promote homesteading so that the neglected properties can be put to use and also generate utility fees and taxes. Free lots are provided on a first-come-first-serve basis where the applicant needs to stay for at least five years. The population is around 12500, and the city is very accessible.
8. Loup City, Nebraska
This city offers lots that are completely free in two different options which are Market Rate Homes and Workforce Homes. The lots under the Market Rate Homes are provided on a first-come-first-serve basis with a deposit of $1000 which is refunded after the home is built. The lots are provided to the homeowners with limited income and assets that meet a set standard for the Workforce housing. They are also eligible for a loan of up to $20000 in down payment to build their home at extremely low-interest rates.
9. Elwood, Nebraska
This beautiful village has ten free lots available as of now and to apply for the same; you need to contact or visit the village office. The homes need to be on a foundation but no specific details are mentioned, and so, it is better to drop in at the office to get all the necessary details of the lots.
10. Manilla, Iowa
This small town has a housing subdivision offering free lots. With all the basic amenities available for living, you can apply for homesteading in the free available lots. The cost of living here is also very low. To know more about the details of the lots and requirements, you need to get in touch with the City Office.
11. Marne, Iowa
This small town has very little population with around 150 people and has many free lots available for an approximate average size of 80 x 120 feet. Your home needs to be completed within 18 months from the date the lot is provided to you and should be at least 1200 square feet. With no specific requirements, you can avail the free lands by applying with a proposed floor plan of the house intended to be built.
However, you are not allowed to do poultry farming or breed livestock or other animals for commercial purposes. Marne has all the requirements for living, and also, you can enjoy low crime rate and tax rate.
12. New Richland, Minnesota
This town has a population of about 1200 and offers free lots of 86 x 133 feet with the requirement to build your home within one year. Though the land is free, assessments will be conducted for the cost of developing your property with sewer, gutter, streets, and water. This fee is around $25000 that can be reduced to $14000 through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for candidates who qualify. This amount is to be paid semi-annually over a 15 year period with real estate taxes.
13. Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio
Though the lands are not free nor will you become the owner, this is mentioned because it is extremely cheap. The Government has begun this initiative to offer cheap farmlands with a lease for 60 years. The farmlands are protected along with a house already built, and the average rent is between $500 and $1000 per month.
14. Flagler, Colorado
This town is on Interstate 70 with great connectivity and has an approximate population of 650. The town has 480 acres of land which is on offer for free to set up business or industry which will provide employment as well. You need to check out the requirements as it might suit well to set up your homesteading business.
The town has all the basic services that are required to fulfill your necessities. It has excellent schools, services from high-speed internet providers, medical stores and clinic, restaurants, clothing stores, etc. The acquisition of 3 water wells recently by the Town of Flagler has boosted the water supply that will be ideal for irrigation in agriculture.
15. Muskegon, Michigan
This city has a population of nearly 39000 is looking to attract energy providers, suppliers for industries and food processing industry so that it can employ many people. The lands are provided for free, and your homesteading business can fit in their requirements. You will be granted industrial park property, and they are also in low tax “Michigan Renaissance Zones.”
If you can provide 25 jobs, you will be granted 5 acres of land. Similarly, 12 acres for 50 jobs, 20 acres for 75 jobs and 30 acres for 100 or more jobs. The city also provides tax benefits, incentives, and state business credits.
16. Camden, Maine
This town in the coastal region of Maine has a population of approximately 4000 and offering 3.5 acres of land for businesses that can provide at least 24 jobs. The town has all the necessities to run a business smoothly and for living like water supply, power supply, internet services, parking, etc. Camden is looking to attract sustainable businesses and industries like food processing, biotech, medical labs, financial services and information technology. Sustainable agriculture is more preferred as it is eco-friendly.
17. Anderson, Alaska
This is a very small town in Alaska’s interior that has no grocery stores, traffic lights or gas stations. The weather is very pleasant and is a picturesque place with the view of Mount McKinsey and Northern Lights. The population of this place is less than 300 but has plenty of free lands on offer an d ideal for homesteading (source: https://www.landcentury.com/).
Currently, 26 lots of 1.3 acres are provided to the people who are willing to apply. There is a refundable deposit of $500 that needs to be submitted for applying, and you can enjoy the benefits of no sales tax, property tax, state tax and apparently no crime and traffic.
What do you think ? Are you prepared for homesteading ?
Start a new chapter of your life today !