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Free Land: Build Your Homestead Without the Debt

| 5/24/2010 11:56:32 AM

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.

freelandEchoing 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

4/28/2018 11:10:35 AM

Im looking to be in the mountains. I can build my own house.chicken ducks an geese to be raised for food. I also want to build small shelters through out the woods for emergency's for anyone to use to stay alive. I usually build in the trees because it's a good foundation, an it's free. I mill my own lumber

8/6/2017 1:51:45 PM

Is there an area anywhere at all that's free or AFDORDABLE that doesn't require a fortune to have a safe well drilled, not near toxic factory byproduct runoff, not in flood zone, lacking road infrastructure, and not among trouble making ignorant trump supporters? I really doubt it. -Michelle

7/20/2016 12:32:48 PM

Robert here: Put together a more complete community free-access tool list: AIR FLOW 30-60,000 btu prop. heater 150-200,000 btu kero. heatr 70,000 btu kerosene heater carpet blower cellulose insulation blower compact air blower de-humidifier 18 gallon evaporative cooling fan heavy duty portable fan hi-velocity air blower AUGERS 1 man auger 1 man flex cable auger 2 man auger toilet auger towable hydraulic auger CEMENT concrete grinder 10” concrete vibrator electric cement mixer electric concrete saw 14” gas 4-cycle concr. saw 14” gas towable cement mixer grinder 7” large core drill large electric cement mixer mini grinder paver saw pro elect. concrete saw 12” pro gas concrete saw 14” pro gas concrete saw 16” small core drill towable motor mixer walk behind concr. saw 14” walk behind concr. saw 18” COMPACTORS jumping jack vibratory plate type 15” vibratory plate type 20” manual tamper COMPRESSORS air blower end air chuck cut-off mini circular saw electric air compressor gas air compressor portable air tank 10 gal. compressor hose 15ft. compressor hose 25ft. DEMOLITION 11 lb. demolition hammer 20 lb. demolition hammer 27 lb. demolition hammer breaker easy hammer cart makita pro breaker pro breaker roto hammer 1” roto hammer 1-1/2” roto hammer 2” small breaker PUMPS drain cleaner 50'x1/2” drill drain clean 25'x5/16” manual drain clean 50'x1/2” gas water pump 1” gas water pump 2” gas water pump 3” roofers pump submersible pump 2” HAND TOOLS 1/4” socket set sae, metr. 3/8” socket set sae, metr. 1/2” socket set sae, metr bolt cutter 36” bubble level 24in. bull float chalk line chalk tube gun channel lok plyer coping saw crescent wrench 15”, 12, 6 finish tac hammer hack saw hand maul linemans crimp plyers multi-head crimper set nail hammer pipe threader 1/2” - 3-2” pipe wrench 14”, 6” pop-up canopy 8ft. x 8ft. ratchet soil pipe cutter 6” sledge hammer tape measure tin snips,rt, str, left tree branch saw vice grip wood saw 28” MISCELLANEOUS 650 lb. garden dump cart aero cart cross-line laser level laser distance measure led task laser pointer led waterproof handheld propane tank w/regulator 20lb. sound pressure level meter speaker mic for walkie walkie talkie 4w. 16ch. vhf wheelbarrow 6 cu. ft. wheelbarrow 10 cu. ft. NAILERS air brad nailer air coil roofing nailer air coil sliding nailer air finish nailer air floor cleat 16 gauge air floor cleat 18 gauge air framing nailer cordless finish nailer cordless framing nailer manual floor 16 gauge power actuated tool POWER 4-tap extens. 15amp. 50ft. 5ft. tripod work light 20v. handheld light 100ft. 10-light string 500w portable work light battery fast charger 12v extension cord 25amp 25ft. extension cord 25amp 50ft. gas inverter gener. 2000w gas generator 3000w gas generator 5000w gas generator 6500w solar charger 12v twin head 1000w work light waterproof led headlamp POWER TOOLS 18v cordless drill 18v cordless impact driver belt sander hammer drill 1/2” mud mixing drill 1/2” right angle drill 1/2” carpet steamer circular saw 7-1/4” electric chain saw 16” electric door planer 3” electric jig saw electric reciprocating saw gas chain saw 18” jamb saw miter saw 8.5” miter saw 12” orbital sander palm finishing sander radial saw worm-drive router table saw thermal camera toe kick saw STAPLERS air crown stapler 1” air floor stapler 15.5 ga. air floor stapler 20 ga. carpet stapler hand stapler WELDERS mechanized plasma mig welder plasma torch 25ft. spot welders stick welder tig torches welder/generator welding gloves welding helmets welding safety glasses Still looking to cut my own dimensional rough-cut wood from the land resource, maybe a power plainer.

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