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Than Merrill - Wealth Builders Seminar

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Will Sifert

Metairie, Louisiana

Jul 18 '12, 09:17 PM


opps meant to put "FORTUNE Builders"

I just left the Fortune Builders Seminar in New Orleans, La. It was the free 2 hour seminar. I did some quick research before hand to find out how much the classes would be that they were going to offer at the end (no one does anything for free and you have to be naive to think something can be learned well in a couple hours.) so I was well aware that there was going to be an "up sell" involved. $197 seemed like a reasonable amount of money so I figured I would attend the free seminar and if I liked what they were saying and if it looked like there would be value in learning their system I would spend the $197 to do the 3 day class.

My background: I have very little experience in flipping houses. I was the investor side of a partnership with a contractor, building spec homes until about 4 years. After we stopped building I started buying properties at tax sales. The tax sales only happen once a year so I am looking for something else real estate related that I can do year round. While I have a general knowledge in real estate, I don't know much about REO's, foreclosures or wholesaling so I'm thinking their course would be a good foundation for me to build on. With 3 full days of classes I hope I learn a few things.

Has anyone else attended one of Than Merrill's 3 day classes? I hear the next up sell is the mentor program for $40,000.


Edited Jul 18 2012, 21:22 by Will Sifert


Joel Owens Verified Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Jul 18 '12, 10:49 PM


Will I have not.

If however you use the search function on here you will find many older topics discussing Than Merrill and his fees along with other boot camp type programs.

The general consensus is you would do much better shadowing someone local with in depth knowledge and is actively doing deals in your area.

This is the person you reap the most from even with paying them versus a course that is rolled out nationally trying to sell you a program.

Hope it helps.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Ann Bellamy Verified

Real Estate Lender from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Jul 19 '12, 03:51 AM
1 vote


@Joel Owens is probably correct, you can do better with a local mentor.

Having said that, however, of the gurus, Paul and Than probably have one of the best programs out there. They've grown to the point that I don't think they are involved directly with the students any more, with the possible exception of the Mastery Program.

You don't have to jump from $197 to $40,000, they have courses you can purchase and bootcamps that are a few thousand.

I'm not suggesting you do that, just pointing out that there are other options. I do work with a few local investors who are in their mastery program and are very successful, but they started years ago.

So if you are going to go the courses and bootcamp route, this one is probably the best of the bunch. I have no affiliation with them other than I've known them since 2007 because they started their speaking and selling in New England.



Medium_small_logoAnn Bellamy, Buy Now, LLC
Telephone: 800-418-0081
Website: http://www.buynowhardmoney.com
Hard money lending in NH and MA, and for free networking in MA, http://www.BlackDiamondREI.com


Will Sifert

Metairie, Louisiana

Jul 19 '12, 01:05 PM


Originally posted by Ann Bellamy:
Joel Owens is probably correct, you can do better with a local mentor.

Having said that, however, of the gurus, Paul and Than probably have one of the best programs out there. They've grown to the point that I don't think they are involved directly with the students any more, with the possible exception of the Mastery Program.

You don't have to jump from $197 to $40,000, they have courses you can purchase and bootcamps that are a few thousand.

I'm not suggesting you do that, just pointing out that there are other options. I do work with a few local investors who are in their mastery program and are very successful, but they started years ago.

So if you are going to go the courses and bootcamp route, this one is probably the best of the bunch. I have no affiliation with them other than I've known them since 2007 because they started their speaking and selling in New England.

Thanks for the feedback.

I agree 100% a local mentor would be a much better option I just don't know anyone.

For $197 if I can walk away learning just a couple new / good things I think it would be worth it. In the mean time I am going to read every thread here about wholesaling and ask lots of questions. When it comes time for my fortune builders class I will be better prepared to ask some harder questions.
I go into most things with an open mind and realistic expectations... for $197 I am not expecting much.



Donna Smolinski

Carlsbad, California

Jul 19 '12, 01:43 PM


Will,

Yes I attended their free 1 day seminar, and then paid for a 3 or 4 day bootcamp 2 yrs ago (can't remember if it was 3 or 4 days). These guys know the biz and if you are a newbie, you'll learn something. However, most newbies found it a little overwhelming as there's alot of stuff crammed into a few day. When my hubbie and I took the bootcamp, we already had 10 flips under our belts, so we had a leg up on most others who were attending. Based on our knowledge prior to attending, we didn't learn much more than we already knew, but we certainly picked up a few tips. We were having a terrible time finding a decent insurance company to insure our vacant homes during renovation. Thru them, we found a decent company.

On the negative side, be prepared for A WHOLE LOT of upselling! It was actually getting quite annoying. We almost left early because of the excessive upselling.

Anyway, in a nutshell, you will definitely learn some things at the bootcamp if you are pretty new in the fix n flip biz. I would recommend their bootcamp. However, their $40k mentoring program is way too high. Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home if you go to the bootcamp! LOL



Will Sifert

Metairie, Louisiana

Jul 19 '12, 01:51 PM


Originally posted by Donna Smolinski:
Will,

Yes I attended their free 1 day seminar, and then paid for a 3 or 4 day bootcamp 2 yrs ago (can't remember if it was 3 or 4 days). These guys know the biz and if you are a newbie, you'll learn something. However, most newbies found it a little overwhelming as there's alot of stuff crammed into a few day. When my hubbie and I took the bootcamp, we already had 10 flips under our belts, so we had a leg up on most others who were attending. Based on our knowledge prior to attending, we didn't learn much more than we already knew, but we certainly picked up a few tips. We were having a terrible time finding a decent insurance company to insure our vacant homes during renovation. Thru them, we found a decent company.

On the negative side, be prepared for A WHOLE LOT of upselling! It was actually getting quite annoying. We almost left early because of the excessive upselling.

Anyway, in a nutshell, you will definitely learn some things at the bootcamp if you are pretty new in the fix n flip biz. I would recommend their bootcamp. However, their $40k mentoring program is way too high. Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home if you go to the bootcamp! LOL

Thanks for sharing your experiences Donna. I think I will fall somewhere in the middle of being a newbie and someone with your experience. I've owned a couple rentals and was partner with a contractor who built spec houses. I also invest in property tax sales. So I have good general foundation, I just need to learn the ins, outs, system etc. for wholesaling. Between this forum and the classes I hope to obtain enough knowledge to start getting my feet wet with wholesaling and possibly doing a few flips myself. Yeah, I am anticipating a lot of up selling and I plan on leaving the check book and debit card home :)



Donna Smolinski

Carlsbad, California

Jul 19 '12, 03:07 PM


::)) Good choice Will. Enjoy it. I'm sure you will get something from it.

You mentioned "wholesaling" in your last post. You might want to consider fix n flip first, so you'll have a better idea of what the end buyer/Investor will be expecting from a wholesaler. The market is pretty rough right now, as far as finding good values, but if you are patient and do your homework, you can still find them. It's going to be harder to find a good enuf buy to build in a profit on wholesaling, verses buying to fix n flip or hold.

Let us know how you like the 3 day class. Did you say it's only $197? DAMN.... We paid $1995 for boot camp 2 yrs ago with Fortune Builders! And if I recall, it was only 4 days. So you are getting a good buy! ::))



Will Sifert

Metairie, Louisiana

Jul 19 '12, 03:20 PM


Originally posted by Donna Smolinski:
::)) Good choice Will. Enjoy it. I'm sure you will get something from it.

You mentioned "wholesaling" in your last post. You might want to consider fix n flip first, so you'll have a better idea of what the end buyer/Investor will be expecting from a wholesaler. The market is pretty rough right now, as far as finding good values, but if you are patient and do your homework, you can still find them. It's going to be harder to find a good enuf buy to build in a profit on wholesaling, verses buying to fix n flip or hold.

Let us know how you like the 3 day class. Did you say it's only $197? DAMN.... We paid $1995 for boot camp 2 yrs ago with Fortune Builders! And if I recall, it was only 4 days. So you are getting a good buy! ::))

It's 3 full days, and they said it would be packed with information so we will see. I also get to bring a guest for free, so taking my biz partner with me. $197 for 2 people, it seemed like such a low amount and I liked their pitch / approach during the 2 hour free session, so it was an easy choice. My biggest risk is my time, tieing up 3 days more so then the money. I guess they have dropped their prices and going for volume now.



Steve Babiak

Real Estate Investor from Audubon, Pennsylvania

Jul 19 '12, 03:27 PM


No, these 3 day workshops are different from weekend bootcamps. The typical 3 day workshop will be a survey of all different types of investing, so a very small amount of time will be dedicated to any one topic; and you will still have time for up-sell (and don't forget that they will talk you into rainsing credit card limits at the 3 day on day one usually). The bootcamp will usually be concentrated on a single topic for the entire weekend.



Steve Babiak, Redeeming Properties, LLC
Telephone: 6109082183
...


Donna Smolinski

Carlsbad, California

Jul 19 '12, 04:21 PM


Steve... the bootcamp I went to in 2010 primarily focused on buying & rehabbing to flip BUT they covered ALOT of other topics, including formation of LLCs, corps, etc. They went into wholesaleing a little bit, buying notes, etc. I actually felt they tried to diversify a little too much for one bootcamp because I noticed alot of the folks were getting overwhelmed, particularly the ones that were really newbies. All in all, their info was very good for the ones who had a little bit of experience under their belt, but they should have cut out some of the material. And yes, they DID suggest it was a GREAT idea to raise credit card limits to help finance the investments. And I'm sure they wanted to suggest raising credit card limits to help also pay for their mentor program
:(:( NOT A GOOD IDEA IMO!

Anyway, I'm sure they've revised their bootcamp since then, and maybe revised their prices too. I'm not sure, because I didn't feel the need for further training with them, so I haven't followed their offers.

On one of the afternoons, they put us all in a bus and took us to 3 of their properties. First one was just purchased and barely started, 2nd one was midway in renovation and the last one was completed and on the market. This was a great exercise for the newbies. I'm in San Diego, so they had properties here to share with us. Obviously they can't offer this in parts of the country where they do not invest.

All in all.... I'd say they are pretty good guys who know the business very well, but I don't agree with all of their concepts. Also, I feel their prices are pretty hefty (but that may have changed now).



Curt Davis Verified Video

Real Estate Investor from Memphis, Tennessee

Jul 19 '12, 10:11 PM
2 votes


I think its great when someone can recognize they need the expert advice from someone offering coaching. Coaching can be great but costly. If someone wants someone to take them by the hand and teach them that should come with a price, but how much is that time worth? There is no question that they ( Fortune Builders ) know what they are doing but personally, when you pay $25k-$40k for coaching to have a few 30 minute calls per week for x amount of months, that to me is not real coaching. I tell you what, here are 2 bits of free advice from me that a certain late night infomercial scammer is charging $3,500 for:

1. Build a buyers list
2. go find property.

Now I just saved you $3,500!!

Good luck



Medium_buymemphisnow_stacksCurt Davis, Buy Memphis Now
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 901-207-8977
Website: http://www.BuyMemphisNow.com
KAIZEN Realty 901-221-4041


Jerry Kisasonak

Real Estate Investor from Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Jul 19 '12, 11:03 PM


Hey Will,
I recently went to the 2 hr "teaser" and then the 3 day event for $197 in Pittsburgh. I absolutely loved it. I am a buy-and-hold landlord of 12 years and a realtor who holds a license for investment purposes, and I was looking at other avenues in real estate to build wealth. These guys definately know their stuff, and you will certainly learn alot over the 3 days. In fact, I felt like it was information overload... too much too quick. Anyway, it's WELL worth the couple hundred bucks.

Their upsell was the "Mastery," which they wanted $25K for. My wife and I were about an inch away from paying it, but pulled back at the last minute. Several days after the event we got a call from them asking if we were still interested, at a reduced price. (15K) We turned that down too. Then we got a call a few days after that and were offered another reduced price. (7K) He proceeded to say that the 7K package would, for the most part, contains everything that was in the original 25K Mastery program. I thought, "Do you mean to tell me that everyone who just spent 25K could have saved themselves 18K by just waiting a few days?" To boot, I later met a few people who signed up for the Mastery and I shared my experience. They really didn't like the idea that they paid 25K instead of 7K. And I didn't tell them to make them feel bad, it was just what we were talking about and I told the truth of the matter.

I am not saying their program isn't worth the money. Heck, one fix and flip and you could pay the 25K back. But the salesBS101 rubs certain people the wrong way if you know what I mean. I guess it works though. There were alot of people who signed up at 25K a pop. Now we've got WE BUY HOUSES signs going up on every pole on every corner. Like I told my wife, you can definately tell when one of these shows comes through town.

I'm finding that there's ALOT of FREE STUFF about real estate all over the place. Go to Itunes and search real estate podcasts, watch videos on youtube, join your local REIA (only costly if you don't join), and, of course, Bigger Pockets!

PS. I think you can buy Than's wholesaling course online somewhere for around $2K... if you're interested.



Will Sifert

Metairie, Louisiana

Jul 20 '12, 06:53 AM


Originally posted by Jerry Kisasonak:
Hey Will,
I recently went to the 2 hr "teaser" and then the 3 day event for $197 in Pittsburgh. I absolutely loved it. I am a buy-and-hold landlord of 12 years and a realtor who holds a license for investment purposes, and I was looking at other avenues in real estate to build wealth. These guys definately know their stuff, and you will certainly learn alot over the 3 days. In fact, I felt like it was information overload... too much too quick. Anyway, it's WELL worth the couple hundred bucks.

Their upsell was the "Mastery," which they wanted $25K for. My wife and I were about an inch away from paying it, but pulled back at the last minute. Several days after the event we got a call from them asking if we were still interested, at a reduced price. (15K) We turned that down too. Then we got a call a few days after that and were offered another reduced price. (7K) He proceeded to say that the 7K package would, for the most part, contains everything that was in the original 25K Mastery program. I thought, "Do you mean to tell me that everyone who just spent 25K could have saved themselves 18K by just waiting a few days?" To boot, I later met a few people who signed up for the Mastery and I shared my experience. They really didn't like the idea that they paid 25K instead of 7K. And I didn't tell them to make them feel bad, it was just what we were talking about and I told the truth of the matter.

I am not saying their program isn't worth the money. Heck, one fix and flip and you could pay the 25K back. But the salesBS101 rubs certain people the wrong way if you know what I mean. I guess it works though. There were alot of people who signed up at 25K a pop. Now we've got WE BUY HOUSES signs going up on every pole on every corner. Like I told my wife, you can definately tell when one of these shows comes through town.

I'm finding that there's ALOT of FREE STUFF about real estate all over the place. Go to Itunes and search real estate podcasts, watch videos on youtube, join your local REIA (only costly if you don't join), and, of course, Bigger Pockets!

PS. I think you can buy Than's wholesaling course online somewhere for around $2K... if you're interested.

Thanks a lot for the information. I can understand what you are saying about the sales bs, it's very infomercial like. Just like when they tell us at the end of the 2 hour free session that the regular price for the 3 day class is $1,197 but if we sign up today it would only be $197. I was waiting for him to say $19.95 if you order in the next 60 seconds.

From their standpoint, I can see how if they don't meet a quota they go back and offer it for a lower price to people, but I would be upset if I was one of the ones who paid full price. Apparently they have system for the class selling just like they do for wholesaling, flipping etc.

To their credit, i haven't heard from anyone who has gone to their classes and said that it wasn't informative and full of good information. That's plus at least.



Jerry Kisasonak

Real Estate Investor from Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Jul 20 '12, 09:52 AM


Will,

Yes, their program is good, no doubt.

At the $25K entry level, you have to consider the caliber of client that they're going to attract. I guess what I am saying is that these members have already proven themselves successful to some degree by virtue of the fact that they have $25K at their disposal. They are targeting successful people so they don't have to do serious mental overhauls to reform years of conditioned self-destructive behaviors. They are not bringing their students from rags to riches, just from a decent plan to a great one.

I personally have no complaints about them. Even the sales BS works and it is generally something that you have to do to prod people out of a long-standing pattern and into a new one. Create desire and then create the fear of loss by the "We're only looking for 10 select people..." And, as long as you can back your promises, I don't see anything wrong with it. However, for me personally, if someone tells me that this opportunity is a "Once in a lifetime opportunity", I generally get turned off by that. In fact, if there is any "problem" with real estate, it is that there is TOO MUCH opportunity to choose from. That makes it hard sometimes to stay focused.



Donna Smolinski

Carlsbad, California

Jul 20 '12, 09:56 AM


I'd be curious to know the legal aspect of them selling the same course at huge discounts AFTER charging some folks $25k that bought under high pressure sales onsite. If I remember, they were offering the mentor program at a discount ONLY if purchased that day on site. If they were actually discounting lower AFTER the seminar, I would think that's false advertising or misrepresention and they may possibly have to refund the difference to those who pd hgher at the seminar, if challenged in court. Sounds like they are walking a very fine line on their selling tactics. Maybe greed is blurring their ethical practices. I'm sorry to hear about this, for all the folks that paid $25k!



Jerry Kisasonak

Real Estate Investor from Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Jul 20 '12, 10:08 AM


You make a great point Donna! I suppose these things would be hard to prove unless you recorded the seminar (which of course they do not allow you to do).

It's a small world these days. You'd think that they would have considered these situations beforehand.



Jerry Kisasonak

Real Estate Investor from Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Jul 20 '12, 10:13 AM


Come to think of it Donna, the down sell they offered didn't include the full immersion, which is a bus tour of 3 properties to evalutate repairs needed, repair materials, repair costs, etc etc. They couldn't offer that because they already had it booked up.



Donna Smolinski

Carlsbad, California

Jul 20 '12, 11:06 AM


Well that warrants some discount in the late signups, but I think they are still walking a fine line. They should be careful about their cost tactics or they are going to really hurt their reputation, which seems to have been good overall in the past. This downsell tactic could come back to bite them in the butt. Just a very bad mgmt practice IMO. They should offer the discounted price to the early sign-ups, excluding the 3 house tour.



Kama Ward

Real Estate Investor from Asheville, North Carolina

Jul 20 '12, 03:31 PM


"I agree 100% a local mentor would be a much better option I just don't know anyone."

Will, Have you been to your local REI club? You might pick up a mentor there. You could also looks for the we buy houses signs, or ask a friendly realtor to point you to the best investor in town. Try up in Baton Rouge if nothing local works out!

The gurus will always be there! No hurry with them.



Chuck G.

Kenner, Louisiana

Jul 23 '12, 07:00 PM


I attended the same seminar in New Orleans but did not sign up for the 3 day course because I wanted to take some time to think about it and do some research, which is what brought me to this forum. Can some one please advise as to what the "Mentor Program" is and why there is an "up sell"? I was under the impression that you would learn all that you need to know to get started at the $197.00, 3-day class. Can you begin wholesalling and flipping properties immediately after you've completed this class, or do you have to up sell?

Thank you,

Chuck



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