States That Will Pay You To Move There in 2023

Thanks to the pandemic, remote work is on the rise, and homeowners can now work from anywhere and still maintain their jobs. This freedom has resulted in many homeowners looking to relocate, with many choosing locations with more affordable housing or to be closer to family.

Some states, like Alaska, Arkansas, and Kansas, have capitalized on this trend by offering cash incentives to move there. These programs range from cold, hard cash to forgivable loans, free membership to local activities, and much more. So, if you’re interested in getting paid to move, below are 10 states you can consider.

Alabama

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The Shoals region of Alabama is located along the Tennessee river in the Northern portion of the state. The state offers a generous cash incentive of $10,000 through the Remote Shoals Program for people to move there. To qualify, you must make $52,000 or more a year, be 18 years or older, and your job must originate outside Colbert and Lauderdale counties.

You can expect the first 25% of the incentive, a total of $2,500 upfront, to help with moving expenses. Then, after your first six months, you’re entitled to another 25%, with the remainder being awarded after your first year.

There are also plenty of other reasons to relocate to The Shoals, including:

  • Rich musical history: The Shoals area is home to FAME studios, known for their work with Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Bono.
  • Natural Beauty: The natural grandeur of the Tennessee River, combined with dozens of hiking trails and parks, makes The Shoals a premier locale for the outdoorsy type.
  • Amazing Food: The Shoals region includes many towns with amazing food, like Florence. Florence has rock star dining locales such as the Odette Bistro, 306 Barbeque Florence, and Stagg’s Grocery.

Alaska

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Alaska’s incentive program is one of the oldest, most well-established, and versatile on this list. Founded in 1980, Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend pays its residents each year they live there. This fund has no regional restrictions, which means you can collect on it regardless of where you move to in the state. It also has one of the simplest qualifications, only requiring you to have lived in the state for one continuous calendar year before applying. To receive the fund each subsequent year, you must maintain Alaska residency and live in the state during the entire year you wish to claim the incentive. The only downside of the fund is that the amount paid out to residents changes depending on yearly revenue, but it averages around $1,600.

Besides the generous repeating cash incentive, Alaska is a beautiful state with many perks to living there:

  • Low sales, income, and state tax: Alaska has some of the lowest tax rates of any state in the U.S., allowing residents to get more bang for their buck.
  • Breathtaking natural scenery: This state is home to one of the most beautiful natural environments in the world, with a host of state parks that exemplify the Alaskan wilderness.
  • Few pests: While not completely devoid of creepy crawlies, Alaska has some of the lowest pest populations in the entire country.

Arkansas

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Northwest Arkansas is an up-and-coming area with an impressive IT and medical scene. Like many states, Arkansas is attempting to pull in industry-minded young adults looking to work from home. The Northwest Arkansas Council established the Life Works Here incentive, which allows incoming residents to receive $10,000 along with a mountain or road bike. These funds can be awarded in cash or cryptocurrency. The program was designed to cater to the work from home career boom and has seen considerable success. So far, the Life Works Here incentive has received over 66,000 applicants and shows no sign of slowing down.

To qualify for the Life Works Here program, you must be at least 24 years of age with two years of work experience and full-time employment. You must currently reside outside the state of Arkansas. You must also be a U.S. citizen and have the ability to relocate within six months of acceptance.

The Northwestern Arkansas region has several impressive draws for prospective candidates, including:

  • A rapidly growing tech scene: Northwestern Arkansas has become a home to tech start-ups since the mid-2010s, and the aid of the Life Works Here incentive has only added fuel to the silicone-colored fire.
  • Over 300 miles of biking trails and local parks: The Northwestern portions of Arkansas possess some of the state’s best and most beautiful biking and hiking trails. There are also many state parks like Devil’s Den, Prairie Grove Battlefield, and Lake Fort Smith.
  • Arts, museums, and other cultural hotspots: Cities like Fayetteville possess incredible cultural landscapes, including the Crystal Bridges Museum, Walton Arts Center, and numerous live art and performance venues.

Iowa

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In 2014, Newton, Iowa, created a program called The Newton Housing Initiative which sought to stimulate the buying and construction of new homes. If you invest in the infrastructure of Newton with a home valued at $190,000 or more, you’ll receive a $10,000 cash incentive. You’ll also receive a “Get to Know Newton” welcome package, which includes discounts to local restaurants and stores, valued at around $2,500.

To qualify for this program, you must purchase or construct a new home valued at $190,000. The financial incentive is provided at the time and place of the closing on the financing of the home, and an official appraiser must estimate the home’s value. The home’s construction must be fully completed before you receive the incentive, confirmed with a certificate of occupancy issued by the City of Newton. Furthermore, rental properties are not eligible for this program.

Newton is one of the more unassuming entries on this list, but that does not mean it lacks reasons to move to. Newton has several impressive benefits, such as:

  • It’s a great place to settle down: Newton is relatively small and quiet for a city and possesses many surrounding suburbs. Combining its strong educational system and well-rated schools, Newton becomes an excellent choice for settling down and starting a family.
  • Impressive cultural events: Newton has many local attractions that bring culture and entertainment to the whole family. Sites like the Capitol Theater, Iowa Speedway, and the Jasper County Historical Museum make for some great weekend activities.

Kansas

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The capital city of Kansas, Topeka, is looking to attract new talent and is willing to pay you to move there. Through the Choose Topeka program, we see one of the most diverse incentive programs on this list, along with one of the biggest lump sums. The program can be a bit complex, so here’s a look at how it works:

For those willing to move to Topeka for on-site work, you’re eligible for the following:

  • Up to $10,000 if renting a home in the first year
  • Up to $15,000 if buying a home in the first year

To qualify for these funds, you must:

  • Confirm with your employer that they participate in the Choose Topeka program
  • Move to Topeka for a full-time position
  • Purchase or rent a home in Shawnee County within a year of your hire and move
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S.

For those moving to Topeka with a remote work position, you’re eligible for the following:

  • Up to $5,000 if renting a home in the first year
  • Up to $10,000 if buying a home in the first year

Here are the qualifications and details of the incentive program:

  • Purchase or rent a home in Shawnee County
  • Be employed full-time with a company via a remote work position or be self-employed
  • This incentive is limited to one per household
  • This incentive has a minimum three-month wait period
  • Your employer must be located outside Shawnee county

Maryland

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Baltimore, Maryland, has created programs to entice homeowners and spur the renewal of older buildings. First, there is the Buying Into Baltimore Program, which gives prospective homebuyers a $5,000 forgivable loan. Next, you have the Vacants to Value Program, which awards homebuyers $10,000 to go toward the down payment and closing costs of a vacant or abandoned home.

For those interested in the Buying Into Baltimore program, to qualify, you’ll need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Attend and complete the Live Baltimore’s Trolley Tour event
  • Earn a homeownership counseling certificate before making an offer on your home
  • Live in the home as your primary residence
  • Contribute at least $1,000 of your own money to the purchase of the home
  • Your mortgage amount must not exceed the single-family home FHA mortgage limit of $420,680

If you’re looking to purchase and remodel a home that has been abandoned, you can apply for the Vacants to Value program. To qualify, you must:

  • Purchase a specifically eligible property that has been designated vacant or abandoned
  • Earn a homeownership counseling certificate before making an offer on your home
  • Live in the home as your primary residence
  • Contribute at least $1,000 of your own money to the purchase of the home
  • Have a mortgage amount that doesn’t exceed the single-family home FHA mortgage limit of $420,680

Besides generous loan programs, Baltimore is a large city with many wonderful attractions for would-be residents. Here are just a few:

  • High-ranking universities: Baltimore has many well-regarded colleges, including Johns Hopkins University.
  • Impressive and growing tech industry: Baltimore has an impressive tech market, filled with start-up programs focused on medical technology.
  • Arts and cultural exhibits: Baltimore is one of Maryland’s largest cities and offers many artistic and entertaining attractions, including the American Visionary Art Museum, Meyerhoff Theater, National Aquarium, and much more.

Michigan

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Michigan is another state looking to incentivize remote workers to relocate with its Move to Michigan program. Specifically, it’s trying to draw people to its Southwestern region by offering potential homeowners $10,000 or $15,000 if they have children enrolled in public schools. This program gets even better by allowing applicants to choose from two of the following additional benefits:

  • One year’s worth of car services
  • Annual membership to the Renaissance Athletic Club
  • Annual membership to the Harbor Shores Driving Range and Practice area
  • Two VIP passes to the corporate KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
  • Annual pass to the South Shore Rail
  • Membership to The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series
  • One-year membership to a co-working space
  • An annual pass to the Berrien County Parks, St. Joseph, and Benton Harbor Beaches

The approximate value of the two choices from this list will vary, but it averages at around $5,000.

To qualify for this program, you must not be a current resident of Michigan, provide evidence of full-time remote employment to a company outside of Michigan, and purchase or build a home worth at least $200,000. You must also move into the Southwestern Michigan region, specifically one of the following areas:

  • The City of St. Joseph
  • The City of Benton Harbor
  • St. Joseph Charter Township
  • Royalton Township
  • Benton Charter Township
  • Oronoko Charter Township
  • Lake Charter Township
  • Lincoln Charter Township
  • The Village of Stevensville

After moving to one of these locations, you must become a full Michigan resident, with a Michigan driver’s license and possessing a Michigan home as your primary residence.

Michigan’s relocation incentive program is particularly impressive, totaling up to $20,000 worth of incentives. But, beyond the program’s pure value, the state’s Southwestern region holds many other impressive reasons to relocate.

  • Sand-covered beaches: The Southwestern portion of Michigan possesses many beautiful beaches connected to Lake Michigan, including Silver Beach County Park, Oval Beach, and South Beach.
  • Outdoor activities: If beaches aren’t your thing, there are plenty of parks, trails, golf courses, and other outdoor activities to enjoy. Locations like the Arthur Dodd Memorial park offer hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, volleyball, and much more.
  • Fantastic food: The Southwestern portion of Michigan is home to a plethora of fine dining experiences, including The Makers Trail festival, Brewster’s Italian Cafe, and The Stray Dog Bar & Grill.

Minnesota

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The city of Harmony, Minnesota, encourages prospective residents to construct new homes, or renovate old, dilapidated homes through the Residential Homes Construction Rebate. This program offers a scaling financial rebate to anyone who either constructs a new home or renovates an eligible, run-down home. The rebate is first come, first served, and it will continue until the allotted funds for the program run out. The more expensive the home or remodel, the higher the rebate amount, using the following scale:

Estimated Market Value Rebate Amount
$50,000 to $75,000 $2,000
$75,001 to $100,000 $3,000
$100,001 to $125,000 $4,000
$125,001 to $150,000 $5,000
$150,001 to $175,000 $6,750
$175,001 to $200,000 $8,250
$200,001 to $250,000 $10,000
$250,001 or more $12,000

The qualifications for the rebate are simple: you must construct a new home or renovate an old home that is officially appraised at a market value of $50,000 or more. There are no limitations on age, employment, race, or residency. Applicants must be current on all city obligations, such as taxes, fees, utilities, zoning issues, etc. For new constructions, the rebate will be paid out once all exterior portions of the home are complete (roofing, windows, siding, etc.). For renovations, the rebate will be paid upon completion of the renovation.

Out of all the locations on this list, Harmony is by far the smallest. Known as the “biggest small town of Minnesota,” as of writing this, it only has a population of 1,028. But don’t let its small size fool you. Harmony is a wonderful setting with attractions like the Niagara Cave, North Park, Harmony Golf Club, and Forestville State Park.

Oklahoma

The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, wants to cash in on the growing remote working population by offering workers $10,000 cash. The Tulsa Remote program was created in 2018 and provides remote workers with a generous cash incentive, a free one-year membership to a local co-working space, aid in identifying housing, and access to community-building opportunities.

Ideally, qualifying individuals would fulfill the following criteria:

  • They must move to Tulsa
  • They work remotely full-time at a company located outside of Oklahoma
  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Be a citizen of the United States, or possess full U.S. residency with a green card and the eligibility to work in the U.S

Tulsa is a vibrant city with a host of attractions and accommodations that make it an appealing home for remote workers. Some of the key bonuses to living in Tulsa include:

  • Low cost of living: When most people think of city living, they normally expect a higher cost of living, but that is not the case for Tulsa. Tulsa’s cost of living is 2% lower than the state average of Oklahoma and a whopping 14% lower than the national average.
  • Cheaper housing and utilities: Tulsa’s cost of housing is 34% lower than the national average, with a utility cost 5% lower than the national average.
  • Family-friendly entertainment and activities: Tulsa has no shortage of events, museums, concert halls, art centers, and other attractions that are fun for the whole family. Some notable examples include the BOK Center, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and Tulsa Botanical Gardens.

West Virginia

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You can experience the country roads of West Virginia through the Ascend West Virginia Program. Through this initiative, remote workers can obtain a $12,000 cash stipend over two years by relocating to one of several featured communities. Not only does the program pay out one of the highest total amounts of any on this list, but it also provides additional incentives with an outdoor experience package, a free co-working space, and access to networking and social engagement events. Let’s look at these individual incentives in more detail:

  • The cash incentive: Applicants of the Ascend WV program will be awarded a total of $12,000. Out of that, $10,000 will be awarded in monthly payments over the first year. Then, they will receive a lump sum of $2,000 at the end of the second year.
  • Outdoor experience package: Applicants will receive a year of free outdoor recreation and gear rentals, along with a booklet of one-time outdoor experience vouchers. The total value of this incentive package is estimated at $2,500.
  • Networking and social engagement events: Applicants will be given information on and access to various networking and engagement events in West Virginia’s entrepreneur ecosystem. Some examples are West Virginia University’s Remote Worker or Manager Certification courses.

Final Thoughts

Many states and U.S. cities have generous relocation, home buying, or construction incentives. These programs offer new residents, especially remote workers, the ability to expand their horizons and discover new opportunities in these states. We would like to mention that many of these programs expire quickly and are on a first come, first served basis. Many older programs, like the free land initiative from La Villa, Texas, or the remote worker grant offered by Vermont, are no longer available.

While many of these first-time programs are likely to return or be renewed, you should contact local representatives for any program before applying. Also, thoroughly read and confirm eligibility requirements before beginning the relocation process.

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