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What is ‘White Frame’ Finishing?

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Buy an offplan apartment in most countries in the world and you’re getting an apartment that is pretty much ready to just add furniture to – maybe plus a fitted kitchen – and you’re ready to move into it, or rent it out.

But that’s not usually the case in Georgia.  In the majority of cases, apartments are delivered in what the locals call ‘White Frame’ condition.  So what exactly do they mean by ‘White Frame’?

What they mean by ‘White Frame’ is that all of the main structure is in place, but none of the cosmetic touches are added.  Below is an example of a typical ‘White Frame’ apartment that has been handed over by the developer:

Here is a detailed description of what one of Tbilisi’s leading developers delivers as a typical ‘White Frame’ apartment:

  1. Metal main entrance door
  2. External windows and doors with glass package
  3. Lighting system
  4. Fire detecting and water distinguishing central systems
  5. Central heating system lines
  6. Meters of electricity and water
  7. Full systems of electricity, gas and water supply
  8. Phone, Internet and cable lines
  9. Hydro and noise isolation of the floors
  10. Thermo isolation of the whole building
  11. Stretched floor

So why don’t the majority of developers in Tbilisi deliver their apartments with full finishing?

This is because developers are still mainly focusing their sales activities on domestic Georgian buyers.  And Georgians like the flexibility of being able to design their perfect apartment to their exact particular requirements.  In a city like Tbilisi where the locals have large networks of friends and extended families, it is not so difficult for them to find builders, plasterers, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators, etc. – to know which of them are reliable and professional, and which are not.

This presents a problem for the foreign buyer, however.  How is it possible to recruit all of the necessary construction personnel and to ensure that they are going to do a good job?

Fortunately, we at Tbilisi Property understand that foreign buyers will want to avoid these headaches, which is why we have our own Construction Division.  Our Construction Manager spent a decade in Spain and so knows how to ensure that apartments are finished to European specifications.

So how much does it cost to finish an apartment?  Generally speaking, the lowest price for finishing to an acceptable standard is around $150 per m2 of the interior area of the apartment.  Balconies are (nearly) always supplied finished and so there is no additional work required to them.  Very small apartments, such as studios and one-bedroom apartments under 50m2, will be slightly higher than this due to the fact that bathrooms and kitchens require more work and materials than additional bedrooms.

You can get an idea of what a finished apartment looks like from clicking here.

In addition to ‘White Frame’ there are some other common types of finishing types that different developers offer:

Black Frame – This is the least advanced form of finishing.  A Black Frame apartment is supplied with just the exterior four walls, windows, door and the utilities just to the entrance of the apartment.  It typically costs around $25 per m2 to upgrade a Black Frame apartment to a White Frame apartment.

Green Frame – Despite its name, Green Frame does not mean ‘Fully Finished’.  Instead, it looks almost identical to a White Frame apartment.  The only major difference is that gas pipes are already installed under the floor.  There is very little difference in the finishing price between Green Frame and White Frame, so buyers should still budget $150 per m2.  It just saves a few days by not having to lay the pipes.

Green Frame Plus – This is a recent new classification from developers and is a step better than Green Frame.  Confusingly, each developer has its own slightly different definition of Green Frame Plus.  Some include the heating system including boiler and radiators.  Others offer smooth walls and floors ready for paining/flooring.  Some offer both.  As a result, it’s not possible to offer a standard finishing price for Green Frame Plus – but it will be slightly lower than the $150 per m2 required for Green Frame finishing.

The price of $150 per m2 is very much just a starting point for interior finishing – suitable for one of the more affordable apartments on sale in Tbilisi today which would be suitable for the rental market.  Buyers of more luxurious apartments with particular tastes such as imported Italian marble should budget significantly more in order to ensure that they are not diminishing the value of a high-end apartment with only the most basic of finishing standards.

Please contact us for more information if you have any particular questions regarding the finishing of apartments.

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About The Author
Nick Pendrell

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, Nick Pendrell is an expert in the sale of international residential real estate. Over the past decade, he has sold property in Egypt, Thailand and Georgia and is the author of two books on purchasing property abroad.

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