While hoping that your new home inspection confirms you're getting the top dollar for your investment, you may also want to think about the property taxes that will accompany your mortgage payments.

When it comes to listing the expenses associated with owning a home, property taxes usually take the No. 2 spot right after your monthly home loan bills. These taxes are significant, as they are usually what makes the difference for long-time renters who are considering a new home purchase.

Borrowers who are ready to take the financial leap into owning a home can take heart that Zillow ranked the best and worst counties in the U.S. for paying property taxes. With this information in hand, prospective buyers can make a more informed decision as to whether they're able to afford the additional tax burden.

Caroline County has the most affordable property taxes

Using an average of real estate taxes paid on single family housing in 2012, Zillow ranked the counties with the smallest tax obligations. Caroline County, Va., had the lowest taxes as a percent of home value, at 0.17 percent. It was followed by:

  • Catahoula County, La., and Randolph County, Ariz. (0.20 percent)
  • Iberville County, La., and Cumberland County, Tenn. (0.21 percent)
  • Butler County, Pa., and Maui County, Hawaii (0.22 percent)
  • Elmore County, Ala., and De Soto County, La. (0.23 percent )

In regard to dollar amount, Randolph County had the lowest tax obligation, at $143, well below the national average of $2,823.

Allegany County has the most expensive property taxes

On the other end of the spectrum, Allegany County, N.Y., had the highest property tax obligation in the nation, sitting at 3.76 percent for property taxes as a percentage of home value. The average tax burden for the county was $2,549. Allegany County was followed by:

  • Milwaukee County, Wis. (3.68 percent)
  • Kendall County, Ill. (3.57 percent)
  • Sullivan County, N.Y. (3.56 percent)
  • Orleans County, N.Y. (3.49 percent)

Westchester County, N.Y., had the highest tax burden in regard to dollar amount, with its $14,829 average outpacing the national average by more than $10,000. Zillow noted that New York, New Jersey and Colorado had the highest property taxes of all states, where some counties' averages were more than five times the national average.