'FREE' Than Merril seminar,,,free??????

24 Replies

Call me skeptical,,,Than Merrill from 'Flip this house' TV show has a radio ad running right now. says he has a 'free' seminar next week for '20' callers and there friend to attend and learn how to make 10 to 40K per house flip. Also said using NO money of your own.

Any one had similiar in there town?? Whats the hook? Would YOU go?

Hard up-sell to a 40K+ "mentorship"

The 3-day seminar is free and there is a lot of good information shared on those three days, but ultimately it is an opportunity to buy a home study course, buy a coaching package or get direction on how to buy real estate passively.

Like every other seminar, but with one big difference - these guys are actually still doing hundreds of deal each year and still make a ton of money flipping and holding. I'm biased because I do a lot of projects with them and have been managing portfolios of properties for them here in Memphis for the last three years. IF you were looking for the right people to follow and learn from, I personally do not think there is any group of people better than fortune builders.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

"Hard up-sell to a 40K+ "mentorship".

I do not know Than so can't comment on them.They were always entertaining to watch on TV.

It sounds like to me at 40k a pop times 100 you would get 4,000,000 cash.Sounds like they take cash from coaching to fund more of their private deals.

It's cheap money versus finding private or hard money.

I enjoyed the 3 day seminar in San Diego. Had lunch with Than. It's all marketing. But I did pick up a lot of useful bits and connected with some now friends. I considered it a learning experience

this is only a one night deal. Starts tonight at 6 pm local time,,,dont know how long it lasts.

Signed up and primed for it tonight. Will know more tommorrow. Report to follow.

I also enjoy their show and think it quite good

I just saw they were here in FW for a "Fortune Builders" seminar last week.

I attended one of their mentees seminars on wholesaling. It was worth the few hundred I spent to attend. I can still call the two guys I met there and ask for questions and help. We also formed somewhat of a networking group and help to market each others deals for a split of the assignment fee.

The thing that appealed to me about the upsell was not that I got to shake Than's hand and get a smack on the behind as the next guy came up, but that they have real world systems in place to run the business like a finely oiled machine. I don't have mentor money soooo. I keep watching what they offer on the mailing list and learning. IMO they run things very smart.

What else I wanted to add was as REI's we are entreprenuers first, real estate is our vehicle. There are a handful of people I respect on this forum who I would gladly pay a couple hundred dollars to spend two days over a weekend answering my questions and sharing their wisdom. Seems to me like the success they enjoy can be passed on as another income stream for them while helping newbies.

$40 grand!?! I wonder what the statistics are. I'd bet a high percentage of those that dropped $40k could have bought a couple of retail deals, rented them out, and made more money than they did after the program.

@Just Don Did you attend the seminar? They're advertising in our market and have a couple seminar's scheduled for next week. Worth attending?

I went, I saw, I heard,,,,not alot we dont talk about here!!!!

It reminded me of a high school pep rally before homecoming game.

The radio ad I heard made it sound like seating limited to 20 investor and able to take a guest/spouse,,,,so 40 people max. There were over 200 there. And when I registered there was a choice of 6 or 8 different time/ date slots.

At the end of the seminar it is all geared up to have you sign up for there three day seminar for $197. Of course only room for 45 attendees but over 60 wanted a sign up sheet.

I had a time conflict with dates so didnt even think of it. I am sure,,,,well I suspect that during the three day course they also push a mentorship for a goodly sum.

They didnt over sell too badly, said it was what it is,,,maybe oversold the ease a bit.

Over all not a bad thing to hear. But thinking of it, glad I can come here and do basic same thing. But I am old school. For a newbie with zero experience it might be what they need,,,maybe not!!!

Would I go again? Not a chance. Glad I went,saw , heard,,,now I know!!!!

Thanks @Just Don ! Probably will attend with my wife. Might be something for her to experience since she's still a little hesitant moving forward with REI.

I just don't get it.How about just attending your local investors club meetings.

Find a a broker that is also an investor.You will gain LOCAL knowledge and the broker lands a client.No high fees needed.


You are absolutely right! I am just unaware of time place and location of any such group. I actually live in two different places depending on day of the week,,,so day of week is most important.

The smaller town I live in,,,I really doubt such a group exists. Any tips for finding such a group? (being a newbie to larger town of residence)


I attended the Fortune Builders Seminar in Kansas City last week. I was and am still a little skeptical....The seminar basically was a brief overview of their system and a sales pitch to convince you to come to their 3-day workshop...and I fell for it...

I am attending the 3 day workshop here in Kansas City next week. It is only $100 (I'm splitting the $200 fee with my friend) for a 3 day workshop, and I think it might even include food...if it does I will basically be paying $15 bucks a meal and hopefully learn a thing or two about REI and meet some local real estate investors...

...$100 isn't much for something that I will hopefully be able to use for the rest of my REI career...the speaker kept saying educating yourself is the best investment you can make, I tend to agree...

I will check back-in after the workshop to let you know how it went..


The free seminar was simply the gateway drug. The $200 workshop is just a glorified sales pitch to buy their next level of product, and so on...and so on...until they have bled you dry. No REAL education will be done. Just throw you enough tidbits to keep you coming.

You know you are falling for it, but you still fall for it and then try to justify it using the guru's own words. Priceless.

Originally posted by Just Don:

The smaller town I live in,,,I really doubt such a group exists. Any tips for finding such a group? (being a newbie to larger town of residence)

It is definitely a hard upsell, but having said that, they provide real information and are the real deal. They continue to do deals and run coaching programs at the same time. They are one of the few gurus I highly recommend.

As for a REIA, your profile doesn't list your location so I can't look it up for you. NationalREIA.com has a page listing local REIA's and you could also check Meetup. Sometimes a REIA will have a Meetup posting to connect with more attendees. And try a google search. If they've been around a while you should be able to find them. Try "Mytown Mystate real estate investor" and other variations. Also, if your town is small, be prepared to drive an hour or more to the meeting.

Lots of networking with other experienced investors and vendors that you need.

Originally posted by Joel Owens:
I just don't get it.How about just attending your local investors club meetings.

Find a a broker that is also an investor.You will gain LOCAL knowledge and the broker lands a client.No high fees needed.

Joel -

I get exactly what you are saying, but I have to disagree with you on the local REIA point. Everything is always boiled down so simple as this is bad and that is good when reality really isn't that way. I think really good REIA's are out there, but not always near by and not always positioned to provide good information. Many are geared towards turning profits by selling anything and everything. And the fact remains that some people are not going to need more if they are ever going to take action.

I have a ton of respect for your opinions on here, but for most, the option of simply gong to the REIA and getting it all is a hard reality to make happen.

I just came from the seminar that was only 2 hours in Ottawa. I haven't got 3 day one yet but it isnt free it cost 200.00. a saving of 1000.00

From what I have read it seems like the investors go from 10,000 to 40 plus in the three day seminar. It seems like they are looking for money.

So Im wondering what that money is going to be used for and to prove its being invested.

I guess ill find out


I attend them every time they come to my area, just for the free events, as a place to network. The information is minimal unless you are willing to pony-up the cash.

The initial 2 hour seminar is just a brief overview to sell you on a three day workshop for $197 and another $99 to bring a guest.  It wasn't a lot relatively speaking.  

Over the 3 days they give you a more detailed overview of how to build wealth through real estate.  They talk about different ways to acquire property and how to set up trusts to protect yourself from liability and to avoid probate and have all your assets go where you want them to through the use of trusts.  Again, it is a detailed overview but doesn't really get into how you lay out you wishes in trusts.  For that you would have to see a lawyer and that is their recommendation as well.  I have had classes on finance before but this covered a lot of different things I had not heard of before as well as some I have.  I had brought my 16 and 17 year old at the time to this so that they could get some information on investing and why it is important to start early.  (I had paid for 2 and asked how much it would be for my son.  They checked on it and didn't have any option for bringing 2 guests but due to his age they annotated it on my paperwork to be able to bring him as well.( They do have a section on applying to their Mastery program that had 3 levels at 3 price points.  

The mid level and top level programs were supposed to give you more in depth training on finding deals, money, flipping, etc.  They would actually take you through the process and you would have someone on call to answer questions and review your deals to limit your risk.  

From what they provided information wise it sounded like you were akin to purchasing a franchise.  They give you everything to start your business with all your systems already laid out for you.  For the top program that was $34,995 when I went through the 3 day workshop 3 years ago is a bargain rate compared to other franchises I looked into that required at least twice that much to millions to get into the franchise.

I have never participated in their Mastery Program so I don't have any personal experience with it but going over the information they gave me it sounds like all the stuff Subway, Budget Blinds, MaidPro, Re/Max LLC or Anytime Fitness would provide you with for training and mentorship.

They are not marketing it as a franchise that is just my view on it based on the similarities when I looked at franchises.

They do tell you that you can take the information from their 3 day workshop and start doing deals in real estate.  You would just have to create all your systems, write your business plan, etc. instead of them handing you everything and you add your name and logo on it.  The software that they use is out there that anyone can get access to.  The software system they talked about for tracking all their deals, finding buyers lists, etc. looks like Realeflow.

I hope this helps.


@Thomas Heimel you mentioned other franchises being super $$. And more than Thans course.  Are there others besides HomeVestors of America, the "We Buy Ugly Houses" guys?  HomeVestors is much cheaper and actually includes lead generation and cheap/easy hard money, as well as ongoing support from investors actually buying and selling.

When I mentioned other franchises I was talking about them in general.  I think I listed a few of them but there are literally hundreds of them in all different categories.  I just recently saw that HomeVestors is also a franchise business.  I have no idea how much it costs to get into their franchise but when i looked at franchises I wasn't looking at any for house flipping.  I haven't seen any others that come up as a franchise for home investing.

Now I have come across a number of businesses like Than Merrill's Fortune Builders.  They follow the same model of a free seminar to draw people in.  Out of those few that show up they try to sell you on the 3 day course for whatever price and then sell you on the big pitch for their several thousand dollar training program.

I can see by the design of it that as much as it is funneling people into the expensive packages, it is also weeding out those that aren't serious about being in that business.  They do seem to go into enough detail to let you know that it is not like you see on TV where you buy a house for X spend Y on repairs and get that big difference between the selling prize Z and your X + Y in cost.  They do talk a little more at each level about the hidden costs of interest and that your average flip pays out about $15,000 to $17,000 in net returns that they don't show you in the TV shows.

Another drawback to Than's business model and others like him is that they seem to give just enough information to get yourself into a lot of trouble with out further learning on how to be successful in this area.

How does HomeVesotrs differ from this type of business model?  What is the range for your start up costs?

@Thomas Heimel

Thomas, were way different. We're not a guru convention, or selling real estate books.

HomeVestors is a team/family mentality of over 780 franchises nation wide that work together for the benefit of the brand, and success of the franchise.

In a nut shell, here's the benefits:

1. In house national advertising through billboards (in most markets), TV (my son saw is on American Pickers the other night), Internet SEO, and a significant direct mail program that does target actual motivated off market sellers.

2. Real 100% funding for purchase and rehabs (cheapest hard money I've found)

3. On going support and coaching from investors that actually are currently working in your market. The reason there aren't HomeVestors guys often on bigger pockets is be because we can reach out directly to someone rehabbing 100+ houses in a year, or wholesaling the same amount, or someone that has 600+ rentals.

"Franchise" isn't an Ugly word to us because the requirements of being a franchisor are the benefits; leads and funding. They can teach that in a class, but can't provide them unless it's a franchise.

If you want to hand me $199 bucks for me to give you a RE 101 overview I can do that. I'd say keep the money since I'm not sure anyone can ever really say they are an expert in this ever changing industry.

We're constantly learning and evolving and I intend on lasting in this industry for a long time. HomeVestors gives me the platform and "business in a box" to be successful, and the on going share of real world information that allows me to adjust and see changes as they are happening. This is the benefit.

Like I said above this is a team/family mentality and some of my most established long lasting friendships were created within the organization. It's not right for everyone, but for a former career military guy that took a chance and laid down some money it's been great for my family and my life. Wouldn't change a thing.

If anyone wants to chat more in depth I'm happy to, we're always looking for more investors to grow the family bigger.

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