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ADU Academy

Next ADU Academy will be on Friday, March 17th, 2023. Save the date.

About ADU Academy

ADU Academy is an educational event about ADUs for industry professionals. Specifically, it’s for designers, builders, entrepreneurs, developers, realtors, real estate investors, lenders and appraisers.

ADUs are a recently re-emerging housing phenomena with many distinctive development elements. The Academy provides detailed and expert insights about ADU development from industry practitioners who have first-hand experience in this growing market in the leading US market for ADUs. It will also provide a chance to network with a cohort of practitioners from across the country. 

Professional training

The ADU Academy is an event designed for industry practitioners (designers, builders, entrepreneurs, developers, realtors, real estate investors, lenders and appraisers, and advocates), though anyone is welcome to register.

7 continuing education credits available for CCB, OREA, ACLB, AIA

Earn the ADU Specialist designation. Display your expertise and credentials.

Testimonials from Academy participants

If you want a comprehensive overview of all things ADU – this is the place. There are not many places in the US that combine ADU theory and practice with a track record. ADU Academy does that and more. An additional bonus is the group of people who sit with you in class. Overall, it has been a most positive and educational experience. 

-Olesia Chikunova, Home WiP, Los Altos, California

Really appreciated the exposure and education through presentations backed with so much expertise and experience. Practical examples and knowledgeable leaders in the ADU movement. Thank you.

-Janice Lundy, Berkshire Hathaway Northwest Real Estate, Pleasant Hill, CA

ADUs are one of the most promising residential building types to ever emerge in the US market. They serve a huge need for housing, equity building, community based real estate and aging in place. I highly recommend the ADU Academy for all professionals looking to better their ability to serve this dynamic and growing market.

-Todd Jersey, Todd Jersey Architecture, Inc., Berkeley, CA

You are learning from the very people who have helped to foster a movement in housing!

-Rachel Ginis, Lilypad Homes, Marin Country, CA

I am a residential designer who traveled from Seattle to go to the ADU Academy and it was so worth it! A great group of presenters who were very knowledgeable in their specialties. I know design and was there to learn about everything else. Which was a lot!

-Val Sporleder, 1AD Studio LLC, Seattle, WA

I left excited and armed with fresh ideas to implement in my Twin Cities market. 

-Juley Speed, Edina Realty, Minneapolis, MN

As a business owner building a new business finding quality information and network connections were key to my business growth strategy in my new ADU business. Attending the ADU Academy provided what I was looking for to educate myself and to connect with leaders in the ADU Industry, In one day I feel I have moved my business ahead 6 months from where I would be without this resource.

-Brooks Gibbs, I Live In A Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah

The ADU Academy went much deeper than any other ADU course I have taken in the last 5 years, since I earned the ADU Specialist designation. It provided so many resources and an opportunity to network with other professionals within the industry. I am excited to share this valuable information with my peers, clients and my business partners.

-Michele Shea-han, ELEETE Real Estate, Portland, Oregon

This ADU Academy was terrific- even considering myself a top tier expert I learned even more. The unfolding of Oregon Senate Bill 2001 and laws similar to it around the country make it essential for anyone wanting to build or work in this housing sector to get to this event! I loved it hands down- one of the best!

-Dirk Knudsen, Evermore Abundant, Hillsboro, Oregon

If you are need to learn about ADU development on the West Coast, this is the venue to find the information. It would take months of searching on an individual basis to find the experts collected in this one place. The information is comprehensive, and presented clearly by professionals who know their topics, and have proven experience in the field.

-Jeff Andre – SecondLook Design, Happy Valley, Oregon

This program was filled to the brim with valuable information and networking opportunities. Efficiently run, not a moment wasted. Fun and informative. I was especially impressed that it attracted professionals from various fields and from the far reaches of the country. I highly recommend it whether you are a Real Estate Professional, an Appraiser, a Lender, an Architect/Designer/Builder, or an interested Investor. Equal appeal to all tracks.

-Pam Zielinski, CRS, Principal Broker, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services NW Real Estate, Netarts Bay, OR

If you’re interested in incorporating the ADU market into your business, this Academy is an absolute must! Packed with great information and very well organized. In addition, you’ll meet lots of bright people from all over the country that have a passion for the ADU market – just like you! I went through the Academy last week and I’ve already had fellow attendees from Toronto and Washington DC stop by to collaborate here in Seattle!

-Gary Olmeim, Hybrid Prefab, Seattle, WA

An outline of the core Academy topics that attendees will learn:


  • Site Design
  • ADU Design
  • ADU Structural Types
  • Utilities
  • Client Services


  • Working on site with homeowners
  • Design/build process
  • Setting expectations
  • Specializations: Garage conversions, basement conversions, internal ADUs
  • Potential Shared assets
  • Utilities

Real Estate

  • ADU consultation
  • Development models
  • Market Forces
  • Investment Scenarios
  • Integrating ADUs into your business


  • ADU Costs
  • Financing Options
  • Outside funds
  • Equity you have
  • Equity you create
  • Lending Concepts & Challenges
  • How lenders view a house with ADU vs. Duplex
  • Key Underwriting Guidelines
  • Impact of Differing Motivations of Lenders vs. Homeowners
  • Innovations in ADU Financing & Development


  • Overview
  • Appraisal Theory
  • What makes ADU appraisals different and challenging
  • Techniques to valuing homes with ADUs

Kol Peterson

Kol Peterson is Founder and Director of ADU Academy. He is the author of Backdoor Revolution-The Definitive Guide to ADU Development, owner of Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, the first tiny house hotel in the world, and is the organizer of Portland’s popular ADU Tour.  He consults with homeowners about ADUs on their property, and teaches ADU classes for homeowners and for real estate agents. He edits and manages and Kol developed and lived in a detached new construction ADU in 2011, and developed a basement/garage conversion ADU in 2018. He has a masters degree in environmental planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Abdur Abdul-Malik

Abdur Abdul-Malik is a certified residential, FHA-approved appraiser at A Quality Appraisal. He takes progressive appraisal education seriously to stay abreast of the latest valuation methodologies. Abdur is a Candidate for Designation with the Appraisal Institute and a board member of the local ASA Portland, Oregon chapter. He also runs the Portland Appraisal Blog website. Abdur is currently engaged in an ongoing analysis of the resale value of Portland area properties that have legal ADUs. The project is in conjunction with Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Dave Spitzer

Dave founded DMS Architects in 1995.  His firm has varied over the years from a solo practice at home, to 6+ employees in an office, back to working comfortably at home again. In 2008, the recession inspired Dave to start ADUPDX.  He had built one ADU for himself, his brother, and then on rental properties. Since 2008, Dave has designed and permitted about 130 ADUs. Dave enjoys supporting dense and vibrant close-in Portland neighborhoods and working with great clients.

Julee Felsman

For 26 years, Julee has been helping clients find just the right loan and successfully navigate the mortgage process. With a focus on education, she has a knack for breaking down complex lending concepts into simple terms. Julee’s career has spanned Portland’s ADU revolution. Financing an ADU can take persistence and a willingness to think outside the box – a perfect match for Julee’s love of creative problem-solving. Julee is a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator in 19 states, is an ADU Specialist, Renovation Loan Expert, and was voted Portland’s Best Mortgage Broker of 2019 (Willamette Week). When Julee’s not at her desk, she spends her time cooking the occasional batch of homebrew and traveling the Northwest with her partner.

Derek Sherrell

Derek Sherrell is a real estate investor, ADU builder, and endurance athlete with 25 years experience in the building trade based in Talent, Oregon.

His first ADU build was a high school project in 1996. That led to a carpenter apprenticeship and a career as one of the youngest licensed building contractors in Oregon. 

Today, Derek consults with homeowners and investors on how to plan, design, finance, and build ADUs. This year, Derek founded and began an open-source video series designed to guide homeowners through the process of building their own ADUs.

As a pioneering ADU developer, builder, and investor, Derek brings one of the most comprehensive skill sets to any ADU discussion or instruction. He spends his days talking about ADUs with homeowners, policy makers, builders, and anyone else who will listen.

Florentine Christian

Florentine is Founder & CEO of Sidekick Homes, based in Los Angeles, California. She is a licensed ADU Instructor helping Los Angeles area Realtors and professionals become Certified ADU Specialists. She serves as a member of the Casista Coalition and is active on several working groups: Registry of ADU Pros, Local Government, and Codes & Construction. Florentine has been invited to speak at many local and national ADU events and panels, including a recent session hosted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Florentine holds an MA in Organizational Systems with a certificate in Building a Sustainable World from Saybrook University. Florentine is a content developer and instructor for ADU Specialist trainings in the Los Angeles area, CA

Jared Basler

Jared is a Licensed Architect, and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Casita Coalition, an non profit organization focused on ADU and small housing policy. Jared founded his design firm, Basis Studio, in late 2016 to respond to the initial ADU legislation that went into effect in 2017. His initial projects in early 2017 were some of the first ADU approvals in southern California demonstrated the need for substantial advocacy on the regional level. Jared has designed and permitted over 200 ADUs in 30+ jurisdictions across California, ranging in size from a 168 sf studio up to 1,200 sf 3 bedroom ADUs, for a variety of client types. 

Stewart Hulick

Stewart is a licenced Real Estate Broker with Urban Nest Realty and a local ADU developer. After building his first ADU in 2015 and his second in 2018, he saw the merits of ADUs to create passive income for homeowners and affordable housing for the residents of Portland. Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Stewart knows urban sprawl well and sees the potential of ADUs to help handle Portland’s growing population. Stewart helps his clients identify properties most ideal to build ADUs and plans to continue developing and advocating for the ADU movement. When not engaged in Real Estate, Stewart enjoys running, yoga, snowboarding, bicycling and spending time with his wife and dog.

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