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What you need to know before buying property in the United States

The Australian fascination with real estate seems to extend to property overseas.

US real estate website Zillow says more than 1 million Australians browse US homes on its website every year.

“Traffic is highest from Australians living in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, and most searches are for active, on-market real estate and rental listings,” says Zillow’s Aussie Expat Report.

Eight of the top 10 most popular US cities for Australian home searches are in California.

If you are looking to buy property in the US, Zillow has these tips:

• Do your research on prices. Connect with local experts, look at previous sales in the area or consult home valuation tools to understand how much a potential home may be worth. The US market moves quickly, so the more information a buyer has about a potential investment the better.

• Budget for hidden ownership costs. From US property taxes and insurance to yard care and gutter cleaning, owning and maintaining a home in the US costs a lot of money, which may come as a shock to some international buyers.

• Tour the home virtually. Try to inspect homes on your desktop or mobile device first before visiting them in person.

• Find an agent with a winning track record. One of your biggest assets when buying a home is your real estate agent. Take the time to find one who has expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses and winning bidding wars.

• Look at unique inventory. In fast-moving markets, pre-market inventory can give buyers a competitive edge, as it allows them to get a glimpse of homes currently not for sale but that may be soon. Zillow has a variety of pre-market inventory that is not available anywhere else.

Written by Maria Bekiaris

Maria Bekiaris

Deputy editor Maria Bekiaris joined Money in 2001 as a writer/researcher. She writes about personal finance and investing, and has contributed to Australian House & Garden, Good Health, and Mother & Baby.

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