Real Estate in Georgia - Investment Guide
Types of Properties
Written by Emil Goncharov
Georgia is usually different from many countries around the world when it comes to buying a new property. During the development of new projects in Georgia (whether it's in Tbilisi/Batumi or anywhere else), construction companies tend to divide the building process into 3 main construction phases when it comes to selling apartments. Every time we move to the next construction phase, the price moves up as more work and materials were put into it. These phases being completed one after the other as the project progresses:
Black Frame/Carcass - After finishing the floor plan and all concrete and cement works
White frame/Carcass - After all plumbing and electrical work are done and before cosmetic work
Green frame/Carcass - Ready apartment without furniture
Investing in a black frame condition property is optional in most new projects in Georgia. Buying an apartment in a black frame condition means that you will receive an apartment after the concrete and cement works are done, usually, before dividing the entire space into rooms so it is fully customizable. Water, communication, and power connections will only reach your apartment entrance and you will be responsible for completing construction inside the apartment. A black frame apartment is available when the Developer finished the entire structure of the building, the staircase, elevator, balconies, lobby, and hallway fully developed and the main door is installed. Buying a black frame apartment is common all around Georgia, especially in the major cities, Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and more. Buying an apartment in a black frame condition means you will pay the lowest price per square meter in that project but it also means you will have to work hard to complete the construction by professionals you hire including the design and materials. It is a great option for those who are looking for a Flip deal (buy - complete the construction - sell) but require familiarity with the market and with reliable and qualified professionals.
image by sterling.ge
The next phase after the black frame is the white frame. The most common option of purchasing an apartment in a new project is to buy it in a white frame condition as the developers usually prefer to sell the apartments in the project before the finishes and all the cosmetic work. Many developers tend to finish the floor design including dividing each apartment into rooms, connect the apartments to electricity and water (according to the apartment plan), and install windows before they sell the apartments. In most cases, these are the elements you would expect to find in the apartment:
The electricity, sewage, gas, and communication networks are ready in the apartment
The internal walls are built including internal plastering work and thermal and noise insulation
Ceiling plasterwork is done
The windows, balcony fence, and main door were installed
A central heating system installed
There is no fixed and pre-determined standard of what must be completed in a White Frame condition so it is very important to go over every detail with the developer and write all the elements that the developer must include in the new apartment.
image by sterling.ge
While a black and white frame requires a group of professionals in order to finish the construction/cosmetic works and the process, a green frame is a ready-to-use apartment that requires only furniture and electrical appliances to complete your apartment's interior design. most investors who are buying their first apartment in Georgia are likely to choose this option as they are not familiar with the local market and not sure how to complete the process from a black/white frame condition. buying a green frame condition apartment will require the least amount of work before renting/selling it. Keep in mind that a green frame apartment may contain a kitchen (depending on the developer).
image by sterling.ge
Unlike the rest of the world, where the common areas (lobby, stairwells and corridors) are finished by the developer, in a large proportion of projects in Georgia these areas remained in raw condition (only with flooring) with unpainted walls and pipes sticking out of the wall so make sure you look into it
Second-hand properties in Georgia
When we talk about older/second-hand properties, we can divide it into 2 main categories:
Up to 70-year-old properties that are mostly located outside the Old City/City Center - Multi-storey buildings (Soviet-style) which in some cases will require a slight renovation before renting/selling it to make it more attractive. These properties usually located outside the tourist zone and are mainly aimed at long-term rentals for locals. Deals of this type are less lucrative and less worth concentrating on (there are exceptions) because alternatively, it is possible to buy a property in a new, modern and attractive building in a black/white frame and renovate in your style for the same price as buying an old soviet-style apartment (more or less). We would advise you to stay away from these types of deals unless the price is worth it as most of the new generation is looking for a modern apartment (and building) and they are ready to pay extra for it. Also, these apartments have different problems that you won't find in a new apartment.
image by tbilisimuralfest.ge
image by georgia-property.ge
Properties that in 95% of cases are more than 120 years old and are located in the heart of the Old City/City Center. Almost all properties of this type in the city center are properties that are intended for preservation and therefore it is not possible to demolish them and build something modern in their place. These are usually up to 4-story buildings with an impressive architecture reminiscent of Europe. It is usually not possible to make any changes to the building's facade. Buying a property in the Old City area is usually aimed at tourism and short-term rentals and less at long-term rentals for locals. The area is full of hotels, bars, shops, attractions, restaurants and that is probably where you would find yourself visiting as a tourist. Prices around Tbilisi city center will be higher than all other places in 99% of cases and there is only little supply of investment options and properties for sale in this area. At the same time, the highest demand by foreign investors is usually directed to the Old City area. You can read about the best places to invest in Tbilisi here.
image by futuretravel.today
If you're thinking of investing in an apartment/house in the city center please keep in mind that most properties are more than 100 years old. There may be weight limitations for renovations, collapsing walls, antique plumbing that needs to be replaced, and any other thing you can think of. When buying this kind of property, it is important to make sure it is in good condition (as much as possible). The local bank won't allow any loans for locals to buy an apartment in a very bad condition.
Thinking to invest in real estate in the city center of one of the major cities in Georgia? professionals real estate agents will try to show you some properties which are located in the heart of the city center in something called Italian yard. Those are the less desired properties in the city center as they are in very bad condition and with only a few windows (apartment with no sunlight). The Italian yard entrance passes through a dirt road or asphalt road between 2 buildings. Properties of this type usually do not have windows overlooking the street and usually, the yard itself is in a bad condition (though there are few exceptions). Their price may be significantly cheaper but their condition is usually poor and the look is very old. Keep that in mind if you are searching for a property in the city center and be careful!
image by booking.com
Warning = agricultural land
In recent years, there has been a total ban on the purchase of agricultural land by foreigners in Georgia. Even foreigners who are married to a citizen of Georgia can't buy agricultural land. It is possible for a company to purchase agricultural land only if one of the owners is a citizen of Georgia. It is important to consider the purpose of the land you intend to buy especially if it is located outside major cities.
What do we offer our customers?
First, we offer help in locating the ideal property for you while examining all the investment factors and the investor profile. Second, if you already purchased an apartment using our service or using another company, whether it is an apartment in a black, white, or green frame condition, we can help and guide you in the process of planning a renovation with English-speaking people using reliable and professional locals. In addition, in light of our familiarity with the market, we guarantee the best prices for all parts of the work, including design, the cost of materials (according to your taste), and even furniture. In Georgia, foreign investors are treated as a money machine and the prices offered for design, renovation, or construction work are usually 20% -50% higher than the actual market prices in Georgia.
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