A number of small townships and cities across the nation are looking to incentivize knowledge workers to move, rewarding them with cash, tax breaks, and even property.

These programs are an appealing option for people who cannot afford real estate prices in major metro areas. “We see lots of early to mid-career people, often folks that are thinking about buying a home, or have kids, but have been priced out of local markets,” explains Evan Hock, cofounder of MakeMyMove, an online directory that connects towns and remote workers.

But the perks go beyond a town covering closing costs on a new home, with quirky offerings that suggest a desire to build community. In Greensburg, Ind., parents can take advantage of the “Grandparents on Demand” package, which provides applicants with babysitting hours free of charge. (And not just any babysitter, according to the description on MakeMyMove, but “our friend Tami at the Decatur County Community Foundation and her husband (who also drives the school bus) happily offer babysitting hours and will stand in on Grandparents Day at school.”)

Communities across the U.S. spend $70 billion annually to grow their economy, says Hock. In the past, this money was frequently used to incentivize companies to move, but now townships can go straight to the remote employer instead.

“Now that millions of workers are geographical free agents, many of those communities are redirecting their funds to recruit the workers directly. These remote workers bring their families, their income, their spending power, and their taxes. For a modest investment, the returns are enormous,” says Hock.

People of varying skill levels and sectors have chosen this path, adds Hock, “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 hefty incentives to settle in communities, as compiled by data from MakeMyMove. Some of them might even have a Stars Hollow-esque town commons and quirky neighbors to befriend.

1 & 2. Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia

Description: These West Virginia cities have an abundance of hiking and scenic views from the nearby Appalachian mountains. As John Denver once sang, “Take me home, country roads.”

Estimated value of incentive: $20,000

Who qualifies: Applicants with a full-time remote job in a company not based in West Virginia

Package: A cash stipend of $12,000 and undisclosed gifts and incentives valued at $8,000

3. Greater Rochester, New York

Description: Rochester is home to some iconic brands and landmarks, such as Kodak, Xerox, and Ragu, as well as the The National Toy Hall of Fame. One of the more affordable cities in New York, the only downside is how snowy it gets in this upstate metro. Though that can be a plus for snowshoeing fans.

Estimated value of incentive: $19,000

Who qualifies: Full-time remote employees who live more than 300 miles from downtown Rochester, can work in the U.S., and are able to relocate within six months of acceptance into the program

Package: A $10,000 relocation incentive and up to $9,000 in homebuyers’ incentives

4. Southwest, Michigan

Description: Less than 200 miles from Chicago, the town of Southwest, Mich., is known for its scenic Lake Michigan beaches and large dunes that are visible from space.

Estimated value of incentive: $15,000

Who qualifies: Full-time remote workers who work for a employer located outside of Michigan

Package: A $10,000 incentive toward mortgage for those who move and purchase a home worth at least $200,000. An extra $5,000 stipend will be offered if an applicants’ child is enrolled into a local public school

5. Noblesville, Indiana

Description: Just north of Indianapolis, this city boasts a historic downtown and a covered bridge dating back to 1870.

Estimated value of incentive: $15,000

Who qualifies: Adults who are eligible to work in the U.S., who have a home located within city limits, and are willing to move to Noblesville within six months.

Package: A $5,000 stipend to use for relocation costs, as well as additional local benefits, including access to a co-working space (valued at $3,000), membership to the local golf club (worth $1,400), and a $500 health and wellness stipend

6. Montpelier, Vermont

Description: The capital of Vermont has beautiful hillsides and hiking trails as well as a thriving arts and culture scene.

Estimated value of incentive: $15,000

Who qualifies: No eligibility requirements are stated as of now

Package: Remote workers will be granted up to $5,000 per year over two years. Subsequently, applicants who choose to become full-time employees of a business based in Vermont qualify for up to $7,500

7. Newton, Iowa

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 value of incentive: $12,500

Who qualifies: Individuals who are buying a home in Newton valued at $190,000 or more

Package: A $10,000 cash incentive and discounts to local shops worth up to $2,500

8. Harmony, Minnesota

Description: Underneath this city is a limestone cave with passageways carved out by a local stream. Harmony is also home to a10,000-square-foot antique mall and many bike paths.

Estimated value of incentive: $12,000

Who qualifies: Homebuyers new to the community

Package: $12,00 in cash rebates toward buying a new home or renovating a dilapidated structure

9. Mattoon, Illinois

Description: A small town with an adorable downtown, Matton is also the home of the “Illinois’ Original Burger King,” a local family restaurant that’s not associated with the fast-food chain of the same name.

Estimated value of incentive: $11,424

Who qualifies: Those who live 100 miles from Matton and have a household income of $45,00 or more

Package: Along with $5,000 cash to cover moving expenses, you get a year membership at a co-working space and six months of free internet, among other incentives to visit local stores and businesses

10. Topeka, Kansas

Description: This capital city has it all: cute neighborhoods, leafy suburbs, and a vibrant downtown. The city has a few notable attractions to visit, including the Evel Knievel Museum and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park.

Estimated value of incentive: $11,000

Who qualifies: Those who work for an employer outside of Shawnee County, are eligible to work in the U.S., and purchase or rent a home within a year of the move.

Package: $10,000 for renting a home, or $15,000 to purchase one if new residents work on-site in Topeka; remote workers get $5,000 toward rent and $10,000 toward a home purchase. Those who relocate also get free Jimmy Johns.

Source: https://fortune.com/2022/07/29/cities-and-towns-paying-remote-workers-to-move/