In 1991, Nebraska passed the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act (LB840). This law allows residents to vote on whether they want their towns to offer economic development incentives – such as giving away free land. The goal of these incentives is to counter population losses that are occurring in small towns.
Since the law was passed, several towns have initiated free land programs. Not all of these were successful, though; some have already stopped. There are three towns in Nebraska where you can get free land. I’ll go over them here.
Curtis, Nebraska, has one of the best free land programs in the United States. Unlike many other free land programs in the USA, the free lots in Curtis are actually on paved roads with utilities (meaning you won’t have to pay high amounts to bring utilities to the property or connect a driveway).
The covenants and requirements for the free land are also less strict than in other places. For example, there is no minimum floor plan requirement (though they don’t allow tiny homes). You can have outbuildings on the property if they are behind the house. The home must be connected to utilities and be on a fixed foundation.
To get a free lot, you will need to:
- Submit a written proposal
- Complete the build within an agreed-upon timeframe (12-18 months)
- Prove financing, such as with a letter from your banker
Other benefits also available:
In addition to giving away free land, Curtis offers other incentives for people to relocate. Some of these include:
- Family relocation benefit: You get a CASH benefit for each child enrolled in Medicine Valley Public Schools
- Down Payment Assistance: Up to $4,000 for new home construction in Curtis
- Local business incentives: Worth over $2,300
The village of Elwood in Nebraska has numerous free lots available. The lots are 110’ by 115’ and must be used for a residential home.
In addition to giving the lot for free, Elwood will pay 10% of the construction costs (up to $25,000), payable when the construction is complete.
The Free Land Program requirements include:
- A $500 deposit must be paid on the lot, which will be refunded when construction is complete
- Floor plan must be submitted for approval
- Construction must commence within 1 year
- Home must be occupied within 2 years
You can get more info here.
Instead of giving away free lots, Beatrice, Nebraska, has a “Mow to Own” program. Under the program, individuals can acquire vacant lots for free if they prove that they will maintain the lot.
According to the Beatrice website,
“Maintaining the lot shall include mowing and snow removal, as well as any necessary weed management or tree trimming.” Each year the individual maintains the lot, they get credits towards ownership.
Unfortunately, the program is only open to people residing in Gage or a surrounding county.
You can get more info here.
Sherman County – No Longer Active
Sherman County used to give away free land. As of April 2023, they did not have any free land available. However, you can check their website or call the county to see if that has changed.
North Platte – No Longer Active
The free land program in North Platte is also no longer active.