Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
If you were inspired by our Firsthand Reports Off the Grid and Thriving or Learning to Live a Self-Sufficient Life but don't have the funds ready to move to your own homestead, opportunities for free land and other big incentives might revive your dreams of self-sufficiency.
Echoing the Homestead Act of 1862 which offered settlers ownership of up to 60 acres in exchange for (and after) farming it for five years, small towns looking to boost or stabilize population are giving away free housing lots. This practice, dubbed mini-homesteading, attracts residents and businesses to dwindling rural communities. Free land has drawn folks from across the country and, for a few communities, has saved small town businesses and public schools from closing.
In some cases, the town will suspend property taxes for a few years or help with the down payment to build your house on the land. Ellsworth, Kan., will offer a 70 percent tax rebate on your increased property value for the first year (which drops by 5 percent each year) and will help you find a job if you need work, in addition to giving you land to build your home. Lincoln, Kan., will also reduce your property taxes during your first 10 years of residency. Towns usually require you to construct a new home on the lot, and you might want to check local building codes before diving in to ensure that you can build the house you need.
If you’re looking for freedom from the city or suburbs, want to build your own home, and would enjoy a small, quiet community but have held off for financial reasons — free land or land offered with these incentives may be just the solution.
Most towns offering free or reduced land are in the rural Midwest — with plenty of space in Kansas — though other states, such as Alaska and Texas, also have opportunities. Check out the Center for Rural Affairs list of tips, opportunities and financial resources for rural revitalization — including a list of towns offering free or nearly free land — to learn more.
Photo courtesy of www.kansasfreeland.com