There’s something romantic about living in a small town. Imagine living a Gilmore Girls Stars Hollow fantasy where restaurant owner in town knows your coffee order. As more companies offer fully remote positions, people are packing up and leaving town to pursue small-town life.
A number of smaller townships and cities across the country are seeking to incentivize knowledge workers to move, rewarding them with cash, tax breaks and even property.
These programs are an attractive option for people who cannot afford the real estate prices in major metropolitan areas. “We see a lot of people at the start or mid-career, often people who are planning to buy a house or who have children, but are no longer priced in local markets,” says Evan Hock, co-founder of MakeMyMove, an online directory that connects cities. and remote workers.
But the benefits go beyond a city covering the closing costs of a new home, with quirky deals that hint at a desire to build community. In Greensburg, Ind., parents can take advantage of the “Grandparents On Demand” plan, which provides applicants with free childcare hours. And not just any babysitter, according to the description on MakeMyMove, but “our friend Tami from the Decatur County Community Foundation and her husband (who also drives the school bus) happily provide hours of babysitting and will help out with grandparents day at school”.
Other cities offer free concert tickets or lifetime memberships to a local deli cooperative.
Communities across the United States spend $70 billion a year to grow their economies, Hock says. In the past, this money was frequently used to incentivize companies to relocate, but now townships can go directly to the remote employee.
“Now that millions of workers are geographic free agents, many of these communities are redirecting their funds to recruit workers directly. These teleworkers bring their family, their income, their purchasing power and their taxes. For a modest investment, the returns are huge,” says Hock.
People of varying skill levels and industries have chosen this path, Hock adds. “If you can do your job at a desk, you can do your job at a desk anywhere.”
Here are the top cities and townships that offer strong incentives to settle in communities, as compiled by data from MakeMyMove. Some of them might even have townships in Stars Hollow and quirky neighbors to befriend.
In the words of Carole King, where you lead, I will follow. Especially if Where You’re Heading comes with a $10,000 cash incentive.
1 & 2. Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia
The description: These West Virginia towns are packed with hikes and scenic views from nearby Appalachia. As John Denver once sang, “Bring Me Home, Backroads.”
Estimated Incentive Value: $20,000
Who is eligible: Applicants with full-time remote work at a non-West Virginia-based company
Package: A cash stipend of $12,000 and undisclosed gifts and incentives worth $8,000
3. Greater Rochester, New York
The description: Rochester is home to iconic brands and landmarks, such as Kodak, Xerox and Ragu, as well as the National Toy Hall of Fame. One of the most affordable cities in New York, its only downside is the snow conditions of this upstate subway. But it could be a plus for snowshoe lovers.
Estimated Incentive Value: $19,000
Who is eligible: Full-time remote employees who live more than 300 miles from downtown Rochester, can work in the United States, and can relocate within six months of being accepted into the program.
Package: A $10,000 relocation incentive and up to $9,000 in homebuyer incentives.
4. Southwest, Michigan
The description: Less than 200 miles from Chicago, the southwestern region of Michigan is known for its scenic Lake Michigan beaches and large dunes visible from space.
Estimated Incentive Value: $15,000
Who is eligible: Full-time remote workers who work for an employer located outside of Michigan.
Package: A $10,000 mortgage incentive for those who move and buy a home worth at least $200,000. An additional $5,000 stipend will be offered if a candidate’s child is enrolled in a local public school.
5. Noblesville, Indiana
The description: Just north of Indianapolis, this city has a historic downtown and covered bridge dating back to 1870.
Estimated Incentive Value: $15,000
Who is eligible: Adults eligible to work in the United States, who have a home within the city limits, and who are willing to move to Noblesville within six months.
Package: A $5,000 stipend to be used towards relocation costs, plus additional local benefits including access to co-working space (valued at $3,000), local golf club membership ( worth $1,400) and a health and welfare allowance of $500.
6. Montpellier, Vermont
The description: Vermont’s capital has beautiful hills and hiking trails as well as a thriving arts and culture scene.
Estimated Incentive Value: $15,000
Who is eligible: No eligibility conditions are set out at this time.
Package: Remote workers will receive up to $5,000 per year for two years. Thereafter, applicants who choose to become full-time employees of a Vermont-based company are eligible for a maximum of $7,500.
7. Newton, Iowa
The description: Once known as the “Washing Machine Capital of the World,” this Midwestern city is now the site of the Iowa Speedway and home to a thriving arts community.
Estimated Incentive Value: $12,500
Who is eligible: People buying a home in Newton worth $190,000 or more.
Package: A cash incentive of $10,000 and local store discounts worth up to $2,500.
8. Harmony, Minnesota
The description: Beneath this town is a limestone cave with passageways carved out by a local stream. Harmony is also home to a 10,000 square foot antique mall and plenty of bike trails.
Estimated Incentive Value: $12,000
Who is eligible: Buyers new to the community.
Package: $12.00 in cash back for buying a new home or renovating a dilapidated structure.
9. Mattoon, Illinois
The description: A small town with a cute downtown, Mattoon is also home to ‘Illinois’ Original Burger King’, a local family restaurant not associated with the fast food chain of the same name.
Estimated Incentive Value: $11,424
Who is eligible: Those who live 100 miles from Mattoon and have a household income of $45,000 or more.
Package: In addition to $5,000 in cash to cover moving costs, you get a one-year subscription to a coworking space and six months of free internet, plus incentives to visit stores and restaurants. local businesses.
10. Topeka, Kansas
The description: This capital has it all: cute neighborhoods, leafy suburbs and a bustling downtown. The city has a few notable attractions worth visiting, including the Evel Knievel Museum and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park.
Estimated Incentive Value: $11,000
Who is eligible: Those who work for an employer outside of Shawnee County can work in the United States and buy or rent a home within one year of moving.
Package: $10,000 to rent a house or $15,000 to buy one if new residents work locally in Topeka; remote workers receive $5,000 for rent and $10,000 to purchase a home. Those who move also get free Jimmy Johns.