Cities in Illinois, West Virginia and Oklahoma Offering Free Land, Cash if You Work From There

Real estate agent Eric Brown and his clients Roy Thorne and 15-year-old Samuel Thorne had been touring a home when they were placed in handcuffs.

In what CBS News calls a sign of the times, some cities in Middle America are offering cash, free land, and other incentives to move to them as long as you are working.

Some cities in Illinois, West Virginia and Oklahoma are offering incentives for people to move there as long as they are working, CBS News reported.

In what CBS News calls a sign of the times as remote working has been brought on by the Covid pandemic and people can work from anywhere, some cities in Middle America are offering cash, free land, and other incentives if you move there as long as you put down roots.

Due to people working from home or remotely, the cities and towns that normally would have a hard time holding onto residents who are in search of either better-paying jobs or big-city dreams now have a chance to lure folks and help their own economies, CBS News reported.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering individuals $10,000 cash, plus other benefits including office space and professional resources, to workers who move there, CBS News reported.

"Coming out of COVID, the landscape has shifted for people starting and growing careers that previously had to be in talent superstar regions like the San Franciscos, New Yorks and Seattles of the world," Ben Stewart, executive director of Tulsa Remote told CBS News. "The advent of remote work becoming very normal changes the table stakes for communities like Tulsa, where you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can own your first home and have a third bedroom you call your office, and visit family either across town or across the country."

Tulsa Remote is accepting applications now and puts it on their website that they will pay $10,000 if you relocate. They also have testimonials from folks who have moved to the city over the years.

Grafton, Illinois, is giving free land to people who move there and who want to build homes, CBS News reported.

Grafton owns land lots in the Grafton Hills neighborhood that are on sale for $5,000 each. If you buy a lot, the buyer has three years to build a house on the property and once the home is finished, the city will reimburse the homeowner’s cost of the land, according to Mayor Mike Morrow, who spoke to Tristate.

“It’s a great deal,” he told the news outlet.

There are currently 26 lots available that are about one-third of an acre each, Tristate reported. If the buyer does not build a home by the end of the three-year period, the city will buy back the land for $4,000, Tristate reported.

“It sits right at the intersection of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers,” Morrow said. “And it’s very quiet and peaceful. Then in the wintertime, through the trees, you can get a beautiful view of the river and so forth, depending upon where you are – obviously not from all of the locations.”

In Lewisburg, West Virginia, if you move there with a full-time, remote job, you'll get $12,000, CBS News reported.

Websites like, is a tool that promotes remote work opportunities and incentives towns and cities across the country are offering.

"A lot of these towns have lost population not because they're not good places to live but because people have gone elsewhere to find work," Evan Hock, vice president of TMap, the recruiting firm that runs, told USA Today in August.

One program was launched last year in Arkansas, through the Northwest Arkansas Council. The nonprofit secured a $1 million donation to move forward, and in August had about 32,000 applications, according to USA Today.

Related Stories