The much-discussed recent exodus to the hinterlands -- where professionals who can suddenly work from anywhere pack up and do so -- hasn't included everyone. Those who can't afford to move have pretty much stayed put.
But some places, in need of fresh blood and a greater tax base, will actually pay you to move there, according to Redfin. An April report from the company lists several states and cities willing to help with moving expenses and other costs.
These places don't offer free rides; there are strings attached. You may be required to take a local job, for example, rather than work remotely for your current employer. But if you have a hankering to get out of Dodge, they may be worth a look-see.
Take Vermont. Earlier this year, the Green Mountain State offered two grants for new residents -- one for remote workers who moved there, the other for newcomers who took jobs in-state -- each worth up to $7,500. That's not enough to cover most families' moving expenses, but housing might cost less there than in your current locale. Redfin puts the median sales price of Vermont houses at $373,000, compared with $428,379 nationally.
Under the program, someone who relocated to Vermont, became a permanent resident and took a full-time job with a Vermont employer was eligible for relocation grants as long as the work paid (or exceeded) the state's livable wage of $15.33 an hour. And a remote worker grant applied to those who moved to Vermont but still worked for an out-of-state company.
Another mountainous state, West Virginia, offers one of the most lucrative deals for new residents. And you don't even have to work there.
A package of incentives from Ascend West Virginia is worth $20,000, which includes $12,000 in cash, plus free outdoor recreation equipment, co-working space and professional development opportunities. The median house price in the Mountain State is $291,600.
Transplants who take the offer will get $10,000 just for moving, then $2,000 more in their second year of residency. And there are no strings attached on how you use the money: You can pay your relocation costs, buy a new car -- totally your choice.
Free water-skiing, white-water rafting and other outdoor activities last only a year, as does free rental equipment. But during that time, the gear also is free for your family and friends.
Northwest Arkansas, where the median is $251,400, will throw in a free mountain bike or road bike for people willing to move to Benton or Washington counties for at least a year. You'll also receive $10,000. But you have to relocate within six months of being approved for the stipend.
Tulsa, Oklahoma -- median house price of $220,000 -- also offers a $10,000 relocation incentive: $2,500 upfront and $7,500 within your first year of residency. You have to be a remote worker, either for yourself or an employer outside Oklahoma, and you must move within 12 months of applying for the grant.
Why are these places offering such incentives? To bring "diverse, bright and driven individuals to the city for community building, collaboration and networking," per a statement from the Tulsa Remote website.
A bit north of Tulsa, the Choose Topeka Initiative offers cash to out-of-staters moving to the Kansas capital for an "on site" position with participating employers, as well as to remote workers whose companies are located outside of Shawnee County. Workers taking the former option could be eligible to receive up to $15,000 towards buying a house, or up to $10,000 for rent. (Remote workers are eligible for $10,000 or $5,000, respectively.) You must be a full-time employee, and your new digs must be your primary residence. Topeka's median home price is $147,000, Redfin reports.
Not to be outdone, Lincoln, Kansas, is giving away free plots of land ranging from 14,000 to 35,000 square feet. The lots are in a residential development within the city limits, complete with streets, water and sewer, and located just a few blocks from a high school, hospital, park and downtown.
The land's gratis, but you are on your own when it comes to building a house, which must meet certain requirements. A one-story house must have a minimum footprint of 1,300 square feet, exclusive of a basement and the required two-car garage, while a two-story must be at least 900 square feet. And for what it's worth, no farm animals or livestock allowed.
The median sales price in Lincoln? Just $79,000.
If you buy a house in Newton, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines, the city will give you a check based on the home's cost. If the house is $190,000 or more, you get $10,000. And under Hamilton, Ohio's novel plan to attract recent college grads in science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs, the city is offering to pay new residents $400 a month, up to $15,000.
The median home price in Newton is $133,500; in Hamilton, $160,000.
And then there's the Shoals area of Alabama, where four cities -- Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia -- are paying $10,000 to self-employed and remote workers who move to the region. Takers will get $2,500 upfront, $2,500 more after six months of occupancy and the other $5,000 after a year.
Applicants' annual income must be at least $52,000, and the median home price for the region is $270,300.