Fortune Builders Review (2024): Is Than Merrill A Legit Real Estate Guru?

Updated On: January 28, 2024

Welcome to my Fortune Builders review. My goal is to answer common questions like: how much it costs, if it's a scam, and if you can actually make money with it. The end goal is to help you understand if it's a good fit for you personally, and if there are any better alternatives out there.
Fortune Builders A Real Estate Investing Education Company

This Fortune Builders review has been throughly researched with information and testimonials that are available online to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.

Table of Contents

Program At A Glance

What I liked
You have the option of selecting your mentor, and there are several coaching levels to pick from.
When you enroll in a course, you will receive various resources.
Real estate investors provide you with precise information.
What I Didn’t Like
The programs are grossly overpriced.
Their website does not list prices or packages.
There is no thorough description of the courses they offer on their website.

Fortune Builders is a top real estate investing education company in San Diego, CA. They have fool-proof information systems, tools, and training sessions for aspiring real estate investors and make money. The program also has an average rating of 4.8 stars on Google Reviews from students who have already taken it.

Is this real?

There is a real estate investing course called Fortune Builders that we will look at to see if it’s the best one.

This week, we’re going to talk about whether you should start an online business where you buy and sell real estate.

In the end, I’ll answer some of the most common questions people have about Fortune Builders and real estate investing in general.

This is also so that everyone can be transparent.

Fortune Builders is a course that teaches you about real estate investing.

If you’ve read my other articles on real estate investing, you’ll know there are 3 primary ways to invest:

Wholesaling, buy-and-hold, and flipping.

While they each have their pros and cons, there is a ton of potential for success investing in real estate.

Real estate has created some of the largest fortunes in world history.

That being said, you should take some time to seriously think about something:

Is now the best time for YOU to get into real estate investing?

Because despite the potential upside, investing in properties or land takes a lot of capital, and is very labor intensive.

That means if you:

  1. Have less than 3 hours per day, OR
  2. Aren’t sitting on $20K+ in disposable income

This may not be the best time for you to start investing in physical real estate.

Don’t get me wrong, real estate investing can be an amazing way to protect your assets while generating cash – but there’s a time and a place for it.

But there’s good news!

All you need is a system to generate you the cash (& free time) you need to be ready for real estate investing.

My preferred method of getting there is by becoming a Digital Landlord.

It takes the benefits of real estate investing, but removes many of the barriers (& annoyances), like::

  • Small cash flow on properties
  • Having to take out debt
  • Dealing with repairs and upkeep
  • Dealing with tenants

The cool part is that the income is mostly recurring (AKA semi-passive).

You could make anywhere from $2,000-$10,000+ per month doing it.

You can build it as big (or small) as you feel like, without the annoyances I listed above.

If that sounds interesting, you might want to think about using the Digital Rental Method.

Then, you can take the profits and start investing in physical real estate a year or two from now.

If you wanna see what Fortune Builders looks like on the inside, keep reading.

Who Started Fortune Builders?

The Real Estate Moguls Behind Fortune Builders

In San Diego, California, real estate moguls Merill, Sopielnikow, and Esajian started the company in 2006, and Inc. Magazine quickly named it one of the fastest-growing businesses.

Three years ago, the three of them started a business together. CT Homes, LLC, is one of the successful real estate investors. As their business grew, they may flipped their first home in the same year.

The following year, JD came into play, and he helped the group finish 100 home sales by the end of 2005.

Than Merill is one of the most successful people in real estate, and he has done well. People want to hear him speak because he was the first public speaker to talk in front of the Real Estate Investment Association in 2006. (REIA).

If you want to make money with real estate, you should read “The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible” and “E-Myth Real Estate Investor” by him and Michael Gerber.

Paul Esajian received a degree in economics from the University of California. He is the CFO of Fortune Builders, CT Homes, and Grand Coast Capital Group.

Like Merill, he also wrote a book. It is called The Real Estate Rehab Investing Bible published by Wiley Publishing.

JD Esajian doesn’t have a book like Paul and Than, but he’s often linked to the Fortune Builders’ charitable work.

Yale alumnus Konrad Sopielnikow is the man behind the science, innovation, and legal methods used by CT Homes and Fortune Builders. He is also a lawyer. Because of his knowledge of technology and business systems, he was able to help the company grow its online presence.

In addition to the founders, Fortune Builders also has a long list of coaches and experts with specific skills. There are more than 25 on the list.

What Is Fortune Builders?

Be A Real Estate Investor With Fortune Builders

In simple terms, Fortune Builders wants to show people who want to become real estate investors how to use their systems and keep making money. It’s thought to be the best educational course for people of all levels because you’ll get accurate information from real estate investors.

In my opinion, a seasoned coach is still better than someone who only knows what they read in a book. Even if the book is excellent, a great coach can take you further. The Fortune Builders have a lot of people who talk to each other online. What I like best about the business, though, is that it has a lot of positive reviews from people who have been there.

Fortune Builders’ Training Courses

Is Worth The Price

Mastery Coaching, property investing events, and materials for real estate investing classes, are some things the company has for you to choose from.

First, you’ll have to fill out a form on their website to set up an interview time with them. After the interview, they’ll show you where to start your real estate investments journey.

But keep in mind that based on their advice, the course fee could be anywhere from $35,000 to $40,000!

Each week, you’ll have a live coaching session where you’ll get help from a mentor, as well as program materials and access to live boot camps and events.

They come in different names like Rehab Bootcamp, Acquisitions and Wholesaling Bootcamp, REO and Shortsale Bootcamp, and the 3-Day Real Estate Workshop. All of these are only for people who are registered as coaching students.

These are called “blueprints.” They are the course materials or “blueprints” for the best way to invest money. You’ll be able to choose from four different courses:

  • Marketing for deals – $1,197.00
  • Maximizing and rehabbing profits – $1,197.00
  • Wholesaling for fast cash – $1,197.00
  • Tax liens and tax deeds – $397.00

How Does Fortune Builders Work?

I think one of the downsides to Fortune Builders is that it’s hard to find specific, detailed descriptions on the site about what kind of training and programs they offer. So I’ll talk about what I found:

3-Day Workshop

Price Varies As To Who Will Attend And Who Will Teach

Based on where the member is and who is teaching, the 3-Day Workshop can be different. The prices also change based on the same two things, which is very important. I have found out that these workshops are primarily for people who already work in this field.

They are held every weekend. These workshops don’t promise anything for newbies because they don’t teach anything more than the basics. A few ideas are given in the training to help already-existing businesses, but they don’t go far enough.


Seminars Not Enough To Understand The Course

If you want to get a lot of education, though, they probably aren’t the best place to look for it. A legal seminar is only a few hours long, but it discusses very complicated things.

Online Course

Best For Those Who Just Starting To Know More About Real Estate Investing

Choose an online course, and you don’t have to leave your house to take it. These classes teach you about taxes, wholesale, deeds, and more. The cost of each level of the program is different, but there are a lot of lessons here that are better for people who are just starting or who are thinking about starting.

Mastery Program

Expensive Program

In this case, this is what they call the gem. One-on-one coaching is part of the system. It can’t get better than this. This system lets you start from scratch, help you start your own business, and guides you through your business operations. As you might expect, the program costs a lot.

How Much Does The Fortune Builders Course Cost?

Prices And Packages Are Not Indicated On Their Website

As I briefly said before, the cost depends on where you live, what level of class you take, and what kind of class you take. The site doesn’t say how much it costs, and there isn’t an infographic about plans (when you start assuming the price will be high).

I found that some students have paid between $200 and $300 for the 3-Day Workshop, based on my research. The Mastery Program will cost you the most, and it will probably cost you between $10,000 and $30,000. The prices for the online courses can be the same, too. This is how much these courses ask for: between $2,000 and $5,000 for each class. I can’t be sure that these prices are correct, but I can give you an idea of what to expect.

The quality of the courses is thought to be good enough, but not great. People who say they’ve been to these classes say they were happy with the training they got. Looking at the costs, it seems like its employees are getting a lot of money. The question is, why does the Fortune Builders website not show the prices and packages? They don’t want to be seen as they are.

As a rule, you start to smell something fishy when everything is hidden, including the cost. I mean, if a web-based shop is trying to sell software or something else, no one will buy until the price is known. This is very unusual, and I can’t think of a reason why this would be a good idea.

Is Fortune Builders A Scam?

Fortune Builders Is Not A Scam
Yellow warning road sign against a stormy sky saying Scam Alert

So, time for the $1,000,000 question – is Fortune Builders a scam?

No, not technically. You can 100% make money with this program, though it’s not nearly as simple as they make it seem.

As with most businesses, there is A LOT of work to be done up front & no guarantee of you being successful.

Not to mention the profit margins are typically pretty small.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big proponent of front-loading work now, so that you can reap the rewards later.

But if I’m gonna do that, I want the rewards to be HIGH and virtually guaranteed.

I’d rather put in that same 3 months of work (in my spare time) & build a handful of Digital Rental Properties that each produce $500-$2,000 checks every single month afterward (AKA recurring income).

And the cool part is that you can do it in a lot less time than 3-months (I personally did it in my first 2 weeks of using the Digital Rental Method).

Unlike physical real estate, you can do it from anywhere in the world, so it’s a genuine “laptop-lifestyle” business.

All you need is an internet connection.

Some of my friends are Digital Rental Method that run their 6-figure businesses from:

  • Camping trips at national parks
  • Beachfront in Hawaii
  • On the road in a camper-van (with a pet pig!)

They focus on living an enjoyable life first, and focus on income second. All thanks to this program

They can take weeks or months off, and money keeps rolling in.

Living happily is the top priority.

If the thought of living perpetually at your dream vacation spot interests you, using the Digital Rental Method might be for you!

Can You Make Money With Fortune Builders?

Digital Landlord Better Than Fortune Builders

Yes. There is a hefty price to pay to get started with Fortune Builders, but you can make money.

Even though real estate business isn’t easy, you can still make money with it. If you put in the amount of hard work it takes to become a real estate investor (which, trust me, isn’t easy), you might as well bring in a lot of money.

You can learn some of the same real estate investing skills from the program that helped me grow my online business to more than $40,000 a month. It shows you how to make money from them in a much, much more profitable way.

Is Fortune Builders Legit?

Fortune Builders Is Legit

Yes. Fortune Builders is an excellent real estate investing program. This is what people say.

It is possible to make money and be successful with real estate investing. But there are better ways to start a business than investing in real estate, and they aren’t the same.

In other words, there are many ways to start a business.

Fortune Builders is not the best choice to become a real estate investor. You have a lot more options than that.

My reviews don’t earn me any money, so keep that in mind. I think real estate investing is a great way to make money, but you could end up leaving a lot of money on the table.

What Is My Top Recommendation For Making Money Online?

Digital Landlord Making Real Money Online

I’ve personally tried all of the major online business models:

Read Our In Depth Breakdown Of The Top 5 Real EstateOpp Courses For 2024

Did Fortune Builders Make The List?

  • I’ve sold fidget spinners through Amazon FBA
  • I’ve drop-shipped a toilet-bowl putting green on Shopify
  • I’ve sold women’s health supplements via Clickbank affiliate marketing

And I made money with all of them, so trust me when I say: there is no “perfect” business model.

It’s worth noting that I FULLY endorse real estate investing as a way to grow wealth, and that’s why I invest my own money in commercial and residential real estate.

That being said, my #1 recommendation for making real money online as a beginner is, hands-down: being a Digital Landlord.

Whether you’re a complete newbie, or you’ve been around the block before but have never had that “big win” to propel you forward, becoming a Digital Landlord is for you.


Time: If you’ve got a spare hour-or-two each day, you can do this. If you want to drop everything and go all-in, you can do this. More time obviously means faster results, but even putting in a few hours per day is enough to see real success.

And because of that flexibility, you don’t need to trade your time for money. Once the income starts, it’s recurring.

That means you can take a month off, travel the country, pursue a passion project, chill on the beach, or charter a boat across the world.

But you can only do that once you’ve created an income stream that doesn’t require YOU to be there all day, every day.

Real estate investing is a FULL TIME JOB. If you stop finding deals, your money dries up.

Ownership & Control: Unless you’re buying your properties in cash, you don’t technically own the properties – the lender does.

If you miss a single payment, the property can be taken from you. Why pour your soul into a business that could be taken away from you at the drop of a dime?

With the Digital Rental Method, you literally own all of the assets, which means you have ultimate control.

Ongoing costs: With real estate, profit margins are actually pretty slim. Real wealth is made in owning the assets, and owning A LOT of them.

using the Digital Rental Method, your profit margin is nearly 100%. Watch here to learn how.

Just a reminder: these Digital Rental Properties are worth (at a minimum) $500/mo in semi-passive income. And each time you create another one, your income increases, and the effort put into creating the next property decreases.

Best case scenario, you have properties bringing in over $3,000+/mo on auto-pilot.

It’s Effectively Copy-Paste: Here’s my favorite part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up, you can literally copy-paste another version of it and find another willing “renter” in a few days. DOUBLING your income doesn’t get much easier than that…

If you wanted to double your income with real estate investing, you would need twice as many properties, or double your profit margins on each property. And I can guarantee you , that’s a lot harder than a few clicks & a phone call.

Make Money Helping Real People: With the Digital Rental Method, you’re helping solve REAL problems that people are ASKING for help with:

Small local businesses around the world need one thing: customers. Without them, their business would fall apart. If we can provide those customers, they’re going to be really happy – and they’re going to pay you for it.

You’re helping a struggling mother or father put FOOD on the table for their families, put their kids through college, or simply live life a little bit more comfortably.

Having this type of impact on the world is what will help you sleep soundly at night.

So, the rest is up to you. You could keep looking at other opportunities Fortune Builders, which might make you money.

You could keep researching and researching for the next few months (or few years), never making a concrete decision.

OR, you can look deep inside, think about those dreams, hopes, & desires, and make the decision to ACTUALLY make it happen, just like it has for thousands of other students before you.

Making a fortune while actually helping real people that need it.

If this sounds like you, click here to see how it all works.



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