Princeton University Giving Away Homes for Free -- With Just One Big Catch

Free homes in Princeton
Free homes in Princeton

By Alexa Valiente

Princeton University
, in Princeton, N.J., is giving away free houses. What's the catch? If you become a homeowner, it's up to you to haul the house away. The houses are on Alexander Street, south of the campus, and are available to the public for free in "as-is condition," Martin Mbugua, a university spokesperson, told The buildings have been used in the past as university offices or for other purposes, but they will soon face demolition to make way for future university construction. Anyone can contact Princeton for a free home, but the houses cannot remain on Alexander Street.

The area is going to be the site for a new development on campus, the Art and Transit project. It will include a new train station and retail ventures, as well as public spaces and buildings for the arts. Construction is expected to begin in early 2013. Mbugua said that the houses are not in move-in condition, and some have gone through significant changes "mostly in the interior, due to remediation work in preparation for the project."

There is no specific deadline for taking up Princeton's offer. But those who want a free house must apply as soon as possible, before work on the project commences, and the houses need to be moved by the end of April. According to Mbugua, there have been many interested candidates, but no one has actually offered to move a house off the University's property yet.

Interested people with access to a house-sized dolly system or structure-lifting contractor can contact the Princeton University Office of Community and Regional Affairs at 609-258-3204 or email For now, the houses sit empty, each marked with a red and white X. That's a signal to the local fire department that the house is empty.

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