What do people mean when they say black, white or green frame?

Black frame, white frame and green frame are terms used to describe the stage of development of the property.

Many properties (namely apartment buildings) sell the units at different levels of completeness. To make it more confusing, the official definition of the framing can be different depending who you ask.

Some unscrupulous property developers, property owners and agents in Georgia have been known to use the framing terms incorrectly (on purpose) in order to assign a higher value to the property and see if a naive foreigner will buy it from them at that price. The foreigners who decide to go property hunting on their own because they think they are smart enough to navigate the market are the ones who get duped. But, hey, at least they can brag to their friends that they “saved” a small agent commission of 3% when they overpaid for their property by 15%!

Buyers in Georgia usually do not have to pay a commission and the commission is paid by the seller, so safely use the consulting services of a reputable company so that the owners do not deceive you due to your unfamiliarity.

There are some ongoing arguments about the exact definitions of these terms. These descriptions will give you a general idea, although you may find certain agents, owners or developers defining them with some differences from what you read here. 

Black frame:

 This is a term used to describe a unit that is basically a shell (the name comes from the dark gray color of the concrete used to make the floors and walls). Black frame properties have a door, windows, a floor and a ceiling…but not much else. Sometimes you will find basic plumbing and electricity to the unit, but the plumbing and electricity will not be arranged in a usable manner without further work on the part of the buyer. The building itself will have things like staircases, an elevator, hallways and a lobby.

It is up to the buyer to finish the unit with internal room customization, and run the plumbing, electricity and HVAC to the rooms that need it. Buyers of black frame properties like them because they can create the custom living arrangements that work best for them, and black frame properties are cheaper than white frame, green frame or turnkey properties.

Black Frame

White frame:

White frame properties are partially finished, which usually means they have plastered walls, electricity, plumbing and gas in all the right places, finished floors, interior walls, lighting and HVAC.

WARNING: Some developers will say they are going to deliver you a white frame apartment, but their definition of white frame and your definition of white frame could be very different. If you do not specify in your contract with the developer what is expected with the white frame delivery of your unit, you will most likely be disappointed in the end. Again, a qualified real estate agent who speaks the native language and knows the developer “tricks” is worth their weight in gold. They will help you navigate situations like this and make sure your interests are protected in the transaction.

White Frame

Green frame:

 Green frame apartments are finished apartments that are ready for move-in. The only thing missing is furniture, and any cosmetic customizations you would like to do (like painting walls).

WARNING: Some developers will say they are delivering green frame finishes, when they are actually delivering “white frame +” finishes. Again, it is critically important to spell out ALL the details of what’s expected with the final delivery in your purchase contract.

Turnkey or renovated:

 Turnkey apartments are completely finished, furnished and ready for living whenever you arrive with your suitcase.


If you have any questions about this issue, contact our experienced agent in the field of newly constructed and under construction buildings .

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