Starter Home Throwdown: Leb vs. Hartford. Who Wins?

This little (1,285 square feet!) charmer in West Leb is under contract. (Sad face.) Seven days on the market.

Hartford and Lebanon offer two of the more varied housing markets in the Upper Valley, says Realtor Sam Westelman, and both feature the kind of starter homes that attract multiple offers. "They both had great, great springs," he said.

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Sure. But which one is better? Hartford or Leb? Time for a starter home throwdown -- a digital cross-border rumble.

Back to Sam for the one ground rule: What's a starter home?

His answer: A home that passes the Night 1 test -- meaning you'd stay there on Night 1 without cleaning from top to bottom or repainting every room before falling asleep. A price range of $250,000 to $290,000 should do it. 

Here they are. (Images from the New England Real Estate Network website.)

10 Hartford starter homes. Three are under contract.

The Leb 8. Four are under contract.

Ready to rumble?

1) Most starter homes on market but not under contract: Hartford 7, Leb 4. 

Hartford 1, Leb 0. Because you want choices.

2) Average price of starter homes on market: Hartford $273,080, Leb $276,688.

Hartford 2, Leb 0. Because every dollar counts.

3) Average price of starter homes per square foot: Hartford $135, Leb $135. It's a tie! Leb houses are 25 square feet bigger, on average.

Hartford 2, Leb 1. Because Leb is trying so very hard.

4) Average lot size. Hartford 1.7 acres, Leb 0.3 acres. Not even close!

Hartford 2, Leb 2. Because you should know your neighbors.

5) Average number of bedrooms. Hartford 3.4, Leb 3.1.

Leb 3, Hartford 2. Because kids don't come in thirds.

6) Average number of bathrooms. Hartford 2.2, Leb 2.0.

Hartford 3, Leb 3. That 0.2 is halfway to another sink.

7) Average number of garage bays. Hartford 1.4, Leb 0.9.

Hartford 4, Leb 3. You've heard of winter, right?

8) Days on the market. Hartford 37, Leb 54.

Hartford 4, Leb 4. Because a buyer loves an anxious seller.

OH MY GOSH! It's a final throwdown showdown.

9) Cutest starter home in Hartford or Leb, even if it's under contract.

It's on Crafts Avenue in West Leb.

Leb 5, Hartford 4!  I'm a New Hampshire native, and I met my wife in Leb. Deal with it, Hartford.


Are you looking for a starter home? Exciting and scary, right? Shoot me an email at I'd love to hear about your experience.

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