Waterloo lures potential residents with economic incentives

New homeowners could receive thousands in gift cards
Waterloo lures potential residents with economic incentives


One small town says to fight a tough real estate market, they will literally pay you to move there.

The City of Waterloo started a campaign called “Find Your Path Here” last October, but has ramped up the sales pitch recently with TV ads promising big money to people who move to the town just four miles over the Dane County line.

New homeowners get $2,000 in gift cards to local businesses if they buy an existing home, or $4,000 if they build new, and they can use them at grocery stores, gas stations, or other participating local businesses in Waterloo.

“With the economy and the housing market the way it was, we have a lot of foreclosure properties and empty houses,” said Keri Sellnow, with the Waterloo Community Development Authority. “[For us] it was like, how do we get people to come and realize we’re here versus the other 200 small communities we compete against?”

Lynette and Phil Braun moved to Waterloo in June, after moving to Nebraska from Marshall a year ago, and wanting to come back. Without the deal from the city, they say they may not have ended up in Waterloo.

“This was more likely to do it,” said Lynette Braun. “The housing market here, there was so much more to choose from, the prices were so much better, and on top of it the incentive money was great.”

The Brauns have used their “monopoly-style” money for gas, groceries, and home expenses and say while it may not be “Park Place,” their home on Oak Street is pretty close.

“I think it’s a great program to bring in new families and start repopulating the town,” said Braun.

The CDA in Waterloo has spent about $70,000 so far on the program, but they say since all that money is spent in the local economy, it’s a good investment.

The program will continue until May of 2014.