Need more reason to buy a home? These cities pay you to do it

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

In this article:

We all know it costs to buy a home. But what if your city actually helped you with those costs, giving you free land, cash grants and other financial incentives just to move there? In a handful of American towns, that’s exactly what buyers can expect.

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Bills to buy a home

According to Trulia, a number of small and medium-sized towns across the country are using incentive programs to draw in home buyers to the area and improve the local economy.

In Harmony, Minnesota, for example, the city is giving up to $12,000 to anyone who builds a new home in the area. The cash grants help encourage population growth, variety in housing stock and variety of residents. According to Chris Giesen, coordinator for the city’s Economic Development Authority, the grants also lead to a more robust local economy.

“We considered many options and realized that giving away money is preferable to land because the cash is usually put back into the community – you can buy things like furniture, building materials and carpeting locally,” Giesen said.

New Haven, Connecticut also has a cash grant program that offers up to $10,000 toward down payment and closing costs on new homes. For buyers who are city employees, firefighters, police officers, teachers or members of the military, the grants go up to $12,500.

The complete guide to down payment assistance in the U.S.

Bringing in new blood

But it’s not just cash incentive programs that cities are using to bring in new residents. Loup City, Nebraska, for example, is giving away free lots in its new John Subdivision. And when that neighborhood’s full, they’ll do the same in another part of town, according to Dawn Skibinski, executive director of Sherman County Economic Development.

“Next, we move on to develop an alfalfa field!” Skibinski said. “We love to bring new people to the area, and we get a lot of attention from the press – people get very excited when they hear the word ‘free.’ I get two to three calls a week from people who want to take advantage of the program.”

How to buy a house with no money down in 2018

In Niagara Falls, New York, the city is incentivizing buyers with tuition reimbursements – a plan it hopes will attract more youthful residents. The town will pay for up to $7,000 in tuition or student loans, as long as the person rents or buys a home near Main Street. A whopping 73 counties in Kansas will also cover residents’ student debt up to $3,000 per year.

Verify your new rate (May 25th, 2019)

Get today’s mortgage rates

Want to get paid to buy your home? Then consider one of these buyer incentive programs, and shop around to see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (May 25th, 2019)