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Five Questions With: David W. Widmann

March 3, 2016

David W. Widmann is vice president of appraisals for Providence-based Sweeney Real Estate & Appraisal. He previously worked for Rodman Real Estate and has been in the commercial real estate business for 12 years. He responded recently to questions focused on the commercial appraisal process.

PBN: You are now vice president of appraisals for Sweeney Real Estate and Appraisal. What does the job entail and what led you to this career?

WIDMANN: Accountants, attorneys, financial institutions, businesses and other brokers rely on us for fair and realistic appraisals, whether it’s for financing, tax appeals, estate planning or litigations. In the 12-plus years that I have been involved in the appraisal industry, we have conducted over 1,500 appraisals in the Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts market.

PBN: Providence is undergoing a re-evaluation of all properties. How do commercial appraisals fit into this?

WIDMANN: It will be interesting to see where the city will be on values in this new re-evaluation. I would think that, in general, the values will rise over the previous reevaluation data; the question will be by how much. If the value increases are significant there should be an uptick on commercial appraisals for tax-appeal purposes.

PBN: Are values rising again in Providence?

WIDMANN: In general, values have been pretty stable over the last few years with increases on well-located properties. However, there is optimism that values will be rising for the market in general.

PBN: The three methods for devising an appraisal, Cost, Income and Sales Comparison, which one is more advantageous when prices begin to rise? How do you decide when to use which method?

WIDMANN: In developing a real property appraisal, the appraiser must collect, verify and analyze all information necessary for credible assignment results. All three approaches to value are considered in every assignment and the appraiser will then utilize the best approach(es) necessary for credible value conclusions. It could be one, two or all three approaches utilized within any given appraisal regardless of whether prices are rising or not.

PBN: What do you see ahead for the 2016 commercial real estate market in Rhode Island? Any trends?

WIDMANN: The economy [should] continue to improve with areas such as the 195 land starting finally [to] see action with some of the parcels being purchased with plans underway to develop. This is an important project for the downtown Providence redevelopment and it is now finally starting to get off the ground. The South Street Landing project is being constructed and will house Brown University’s administrative offices and a shared nursing education center for URI and RIC. It will be interesting to see if this positive trend will continue with a Presidential election in November!

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