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Fortune Builders Mastery Review (2024 Update): Is This Real Estate Program Really Worth It?

By: JosiahSep 29, 2023Real Estate
Fortune Builders Mastery Review ([year] Update): Is This Real Estate Program Really Worth It?

Fortune Builders is a premier real estate education system based out of San Diego, CA that offers information systems, tools and training sessions for people who aspire to become successful real estate investors.

Its four founders claim that it "takes the guesswork out of real estate."

But what’s really inside this course? Can it really help you build your own business?

And how much does all this cost, anyway?

Let's dive in and find out.


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

  • The founders seem well-established
  • Clean wesbite
  • Real estate is highly volatile
  • Stronger alternatives for passive income exist
  • The programs are ridiculously expensive

Why Listen To Us

My name is Josiah, and this is my Dad, Joel.why listen us

Together, we make up the team here at Scamrisk.

If you’ll let me bother you for two minutes, I’d like to quickly explain why I’m even here writing this review.

In early 2020, I had just graduated from college & had no real career prospects.

I knew I was destined for something more, but I had no clue how I was going to make it happen.

I had this sinking feeling in my gut all the time… like the “big man upstairs” had accidentally given me the version of life where I’d be mediocre forever, instead of the one where I was, ya know – happy & fulfilled.


I had fiddled around with some different online businesses in college:

Some random MLMs, a bit of affiliate marketing, a (failed) dropshipping store or two, all the usual suspects.

Even my dad had been involved in MLMs back in the day… selling knives & other random nonsense people (probably) didn’t need.

All I really wanted was to find something that was going to actually work for me.

Maybe those things had worked for others, but for me it all turned up a fat “0” in the bank account department.

So I searched! And searched… and searched… and searched…

And eventually, I somehow stumbled upon a program that promised to help me build an income online (read about it here if you’re curious).

I didn’t really want to be “rich”.

The thought of making a reliable $5K per month & not having to worry about clocking in to a 9-to-5 ever again was all I needed.

Sure, there were people in the program doing high-6 and low-7 figures per year… but that wasn’t what I was out for.

I just wanted to provide freedom for myself, and if I was lucky, take my family along for the ride.

Fast forward a few days and a few phone calls & I was enrolled!

Here’s the first “money making website” I put up:

why listen us gif

I built that site in 2020, and it still makes me $1,500 per month. It’s a basic 5 page website I built based on a template the program provides.

The best part to me? My dad and I get to do it all together!

So between the:

  1. Ease of reaching $5-$10K per month in income online

  2. Straightforward-ness of the system to do it

  3. Fact that I get to do it w/ my family

Is why I recommend local lead generation as my #1 business model for making money online.

Sure, it takes some work and dedication – but anyone that tells you that there’s a business out there that requires no work is selling you a lemon.

I’m not saying you need to sign up for the same program I did, but I would definitely recommend giving the business model a peek!

Fortune Builders is a real estate investing program.

Like most real estate investing training courses, you’ll likely be exposed to the “Big 3” investing types:

  • Flipping
  • Wholesaling
  • Long-term buy-and-hold

Regardless of which path you go down, there is a lot of potential with real estate investing.

After all, it’s the world’s oldest wealth-builder - a potential key to that "beach lifestyle".

Living The Beach Lifestyle

However, before you leave this Fortune Builders review and go sign up, you might want to ask yourself:

“Is now the right time for me to get into real estate investing?”

Because, no matter which way you slice it, real estate investing is extremely capital intensive, labor intensive, or both.

So if you’ve only got an hour or two a day, or your savings account is a few zeroes lighter than you’re comfortable with, this might not be the best time for you to jump into real estate investing.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. It just means you need a system to free up more time and give yourself a stronger financial cushion.

A good way to get yourself there is with Digital Leasing.

Digital Leasing takes all the best parts of real estate investing, while eliminating most of the headaches:

  • Low cashflow
  • Interest payments
  • Mortgages
  • High overhead
  • Expensive repairs and maintenance
  • Problematic tenants

And the best part?

Digital Leasing allows you to build a passive income stream that’s actually passive!

An income stream that brings in consistent revenues every single month (from a couple thousand dollars to well over $10,000).

An income stream you could actually build in your spare time, and grow as large or as small as you want to, without having to spend hours a day analyzing deals, cold-calling homeowners, or dealing with contractors.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out Digital Leasing.

Still Getting Paid

This is the perfect first step to build recurring income that you can then use to start investing in real estate down the line.

However, if you’d still like to know more about Fortune Builders, keep reading.

What Is Fortune Builders?

what is fortune builders

In simple terms, Fortune Builders "seeks to teach aspiring real estate investors the way to approach and constantly earn from their time-tested systems."

It’s promoted as the perfect educational course for folks of all experience levels, because you are going to get real info from professional real estate investors themselves.

That sounds nice, but what if you're advanced and the info "for all experience levels" is redundant for you? Luckily they seem to have different programs, but that part of the sales pitch is certainly misleading.

A seasoned coach is much better compared to others who just rely on textbook knowledge - especially when it comes to building real estate investing skills.

An excellent book goes a long way - but a powerful coach is able to take you further.

The Fortune Builders feature a decent online community, although the reviews by their former students are split on whether it's actually worth the money.

Who Started Fortune Builders?

fortune builders founders

In 2006, FB was created by real estate magnates Than Merill, Konrad Sopielnikow, and Paul Esajian in San Diego, California.

Inc. Magazine quickly named it as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies.

The three of them began their adventure as a group in 2004 when they created CT Homes, LLC. They flipped their first property that very same year!

The following year, JD Esajian (Paul's brother) arrived into the picture as he helped the group finish 100 property transactions by the end of 2005.

Than Merill is among the most successful individuals in the area of real estate. He’s a sought-after public speaker that launched his speaking engagement career back in 2006 in front of the Real estate Investment Association (REIA).

He’s likewise an Amazon best-selling author for his books “The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible” and “E-Myth Real estate Investor” that he co-wrote with Michael Gerber.

Paul Esajian holds a degree in Economics coming from the University of California.

He’s the CFO of three multimillion-dollar companies: Fortune Builders, CT Homes, & Grand Coast Capital Group. Like Merill, he published a book entitled The Real Estate Rehab Investing Bible posted by Wiley Publishing.

JD Esajian is the president of CT Homes, LLC, and he oversees all of the deals made.

Unlike Paul & Than, he doesn’t have a book deal yet, though he’s frequently associated with the Fortune Builders’ charitable efforts.

Konrad Sopielnikow is an alumnus of Yale University and is the man behind the science, innovation, and legal methods for CT Homes & Fortune Builders. His expertise in technology and business systems enabled him to grow the company’s online presence.

Apart from the founders, Fortune Builders also offers an extensive checklist of other coaches and experts with specialized experience.

What's Inside Fortune Builders?

fortune builders programs what is it

Among a myriad of offerings by the company, here are some of the main options: a "Mastery Coaching" course, property investing events, and materials for real estate investing classes.

Before you become a mastery student, you’ll be tasked to complete a form on their site to reserve a scheduled interview. After the interview, they will show you where to start your journey in real estate.

This is where the course fee might come in - and it might be anywhere between $35,000 and $40,000, if the customer reviews are true.

The Mastery Coaching program is the all-in-one bundle that includes one-on-one mentoring and assistance, weekly live coaching sessions, program materials, and access to live boot camps and events.

The real estate events are available within their program, such as:

  • Rehabbing Bootcamp
  • Acquisitions and Wholesaling Bootcamp
  • REO & Shortsale Bootcamp
  • 3-Day Real Estate Workshop

All of these are only reserved for registered coaching students.

Finally, they include the course materials, or what they call the “blueprints” for using the finest investing strategy. You will find four courses to choose from:

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

3-Day Workshop

Fortune Builders' Training Courses

Based on the member’s location and who’s performing the teaching, the 3-Day Workshop varies - and the price can vary a lot based on those same factors!

I have discovered that these workshops are essentially for the people already working within this specific industry. The workshops are held every weekend.

For the novices, these workshops do not guarantee anything since they do not provide anything beyond basic instruction, and that advice is really aimed at established businesses.

Not a great deal, in my opinion.


While the 3 day workshops do not offer the level of education you’re probably looking for, some seminars do address complex concepts.

Online Courses

fortune builders programs cost

You do not have to leave your house if you choose an online course, which is nice as long as that works for your learning style. These classes provide teachings about taxation, wholesale, deeds, etc.

The cost differs in accordance with the level of the program, but there are several lessons here that are much more suitable for beginners - those thinking about getting started.

Fortune Builders offers a variety of different material, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars...but they will always push you toward the biggest, high-ticket sale of all...

Mastery Program

This is what they call "the gemstone".

The system features one-on-one coaching, and it is considered their highest level of learning.

This program allows you to begin right from zero and helps you establish your business, guiding you throughout your business operations. The program content is tailored to each student’s needs— but as you may expect, it carries quite a hefty price tag.

What Does The Internet Have To Say?

What Does The Internet Have To Say

Let's hear what the people have to say:


first they lure you in with a free real estate class where they have representatives lure you in with about 15m of info followed by 1 hour selling you to go to their three day seminar you have to pay 200$ they insult you by selling that there normal people like your self that they understand the common mans struggle to invest that they want to show you over a weekend actionable steps to start your business using than Merrill system through fortunes builders

the whole thing Is a scam to try to make you join there mentorship programs starting at 25K-50K they make you repeat the cost is nothing depending on the value over and over through the the first day in there attempt to brainwash you to believe there BS filled buisness they sell you this BS over ( also as entrepenuer and buisness student I can tell you yes cost is nothing if there is profit but the thing is people set aside days of work and pay money to learn actionable steps to get you rollin but that is not what you will get

while they may have some valuable info its coverd in so much dog BS it might take you a few days to even find that gem and even then its not info you can't discover by going into youtube and following a few investors for the next few days and learning from them a rich dad for dad would be a better investment of your time listen to what Robert kywoski has to say for three day action on some of his principles is a better investment ) 3 days of telling you to boost your credit line under the pretext of having capital available to you to finance your buisness to be able to make deals let me tell you the only thing they want you to finance is the the mentorship program which there going to force down your throat for the next three day these guys are professional scammers and crowd controllers they say that they are going to teach people what they want to learn BS

Mr. Dejulio would ask the audience to raise there hand if they were interested in learning what he had to teach so if not he could move on in a room with 300 people maybe 20 or 30 people would raise there hands and quickly he would say wow I can see this audience is really interested in ( insert stupid bs) and go off some useless piece of information don't get me wrong again some was useful but only if you can cypher the 10 min of good info in every 2 HOURS of bull these scammers should be ashamed of thereselves there classes they try to insert there personal stories to make you feel sorry for there pathetic selves anytime things get even moderately awkward so that you can see hey really I'm one of you

I feel sad for the poor people that fell for there scam using there personal stories to tell people they should feel comfortable sharing there personal finances because that's what they did when they go started so that they can tell you what you should do to get started this is bs they are trying to figure out if your useful to their business so that they can call you out for being a apprentice program in conclusion these f^ck just want your MONEY don't buy if you have 25k to 50k go out there yourself be proactive learn from your mistakes and overall f^ck fortune builders f^ck dejulio f^ck Than Merrill you elitist piece of BS f^ck fortune builders trying to make money off uneducated people"

Wow...that one was a doozy. Apologies for the language, but it seems he felt strongly about FB.

Let's try another.

"My a spouse and I attended the free two hour seminar in Greensboro, NC last month. The instructor was very informative and persuaded many motivated attendees to sign up for the next level, a 3-day workshop for $197. The $197 was discounted since we were on site. The instructor mentioned the price is usually $500 to purchase online. Both purchases includes bringing one guest of your choice. We were also thoroughly impressed with the diverse attendance...

Ok, this sounded like a good deal so we were sold. NOW, it is currently the third day of the workshop and we decided not to even attend due to such disappointment from the first two days. The opportunity cost of attending this event is much more than the $197 value. My spouse and I both use PTO to take off from work, devoted out weekend of precious time, and trusted that this program would work. Fortune Builders presents themselves as REALLY putting in utmost effort to help every student succeed, however, FB only has interest in their own pockets. They even taught us practices on how to get tax breaks (“loop holes”).

I’m sure they use some of these tax exemptions to make the government believe FB is a genuine nonprofit educational program while ripping attendees off. As a business graduate from UNCC, I am aware of physiological marketing methods which are STRONGLY utilized in this program. The relevance of majority of their student success stories, phots and videos is also inefficient; outdated. If the $30K mastery course is SO beneficial, why on earth are the instructors emphasizing that their coaches are NOT professional speakers, motivational speakers, professors, financial planners, CPAs, etc.

Lastly, after researching last night there are many videos and articles of former students who stated the same concerns. In fact, FB used to have TV infomercials and has mimicked what used to be known as “Wealth Builders”. The founder, Than Merrill is represented as some magical entrepreneur that cares about changing families lives.

Prior to the event, he sends personal emails and text messages as if he’ll actually be there. This guy could care less about any of these students and only cares about the 10% he’s profiting. I only gave a second star in the rating since the textbook they provided was actually resourceful (although all of this information can easily be found online for FREE). Fortune Builder should be ashamed of themselves and has a dark future ahead. BEWARE!!!!!"

Is Fortune Builders A Scam?

Scam or Legit So, is Fortune Builders a scam?

Not technically.

You can make money with this program, but it’s definitely not as easy as Than Merrill makes it sound.

There’s a ton of work to be done upfront, no real guarantee of success, and - most importantly - the actual profit margins on real estate investments are pretty small.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with front-loading the work and making the money later.

But if you’re grinding it out for 3 months - looking at deals, sending out offers, negotiating with the seller and lender to buy a rental property - and then your reward is like $100 a month in profits, it’s not really worth it.

What if, instead, you could do that same 3 months of work (in your spare time), and your reward was a $500 to $2,000 payment that came in every single month (with a 90-95% profit margin)?

And what if you actually didn’t need to wait 3 months? What if you could get started today and have your first payment in a week?

And what if you could double it next week?

Well, that’s the power of Digital Leasing.

And, unlike traditional real estate, you can legitimately do this from anywhere. It’s a true lifestyle business.

Your laptop and an internet connection is all you need.

Some of the most successful students in this program run their entire 6-figure businesses from:

  • A camper in the middle of the woods
  • A beach chair on the water in Mexico
  • A small villa in Greece

Saying Goodbye To Our Jobs

They’re able to travel around, living their lives first, and focusing on their income second.

Because even if they stop working for an extended period of time, the money keeps coming in.

So adventure, memories, and experience are the top priority.

And they never have to worry about how to pay for the next trip, or consider asking for time off.

If this sounds more like the type of life you want to lead, just click here to find out more about Digital Leasing.

How Much Does The Fortune Builders Course Cost?

how much does fortune builders cost

As I mentioned previously, the cost depends on your location, course level, and course type. Strangely, the site does not disclose the costs for the high-ticket sales like the Mastery Program.

This can be a red flag, and is when you can safely begin assuming the price will be high.

Based on my research, a number of students have paid something between $200 and $300 for the 3-Day Workshop. The Mastery Program will cost you the highest—and will probably range from whopping $10,000 to $35,000.

Some of the BBB complaints also state they may charge interest if you fail to make payments.

The online courses are somewhere in-between. These courses ask the students to pay $2,000 to $5,000, apparently.

The quality of the courses is believed to be good enough, but not excellent. Individuals that state they have attended these classes sometimes talk favorably about the training they received.

The issue is, why does the Fortune Builders website not reflect the costs and packages? What stops them from being transparent?

In general, you begin smelling something fishy when everything is unexpectedly hidden—specifically the cost. If a computer company is attempting to promote software or another product, nobody will buy without a price tag attached.

This is unusual, and I can think of no reason that might justify this particular strategy.

Fortune Builders' Refund Policy

fortunebuilders refund policy

The only time that the word "refund" appears in their Terms of Service is to let you know that you won't be getting one.

So you'd better be very sure there aren't any better alternatives before writing them a check for $30,000!

Are There Alternatives To Fortune Builders?


Yes, there are plenty of other business models to choose from if you want to pursue this making money online. Here are just a few:

What Is Our Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2024?

Digital Leasing

The ScamRisk team has spent months researching, reviewing, and vetting dozens of business models and thousands of programs.

While there may be no “perfect business”, the research IS conclusive:

Digital Leasing is the #1 online business model for those just starting out.

Whether you’ve never made a dollar online, or you’ve been in this space for a while but never really “made it,” Digital Leasing is for you.


1) It’s Flexible: got an hour a day? You can do this. Ready to drop everything else and dive in full time? You can do this. Yes, the more time you put in, the faster you see results. But even with a little time each day, you can move the needle in a Digital Leasing business.

And because this system is so flexible, you don’t have to constantly be working to make more money. It’s called PASSIVE INCOME because if you stop working, the money doesn’t.

Imagine taking 3 months off to just tour around Europe, rent a cabin in the woods to write a book, hike the Appalachian Trail, or live on the beach and surf all day.

This is only possible if you have an income stream that’s not tied to your time.
Flipping and wholesaling are full-time jobs (and more), no matter what any real estate guru tells you. You always have to be searching for deals, because if you stop, so does the money.


2) You Own & Control EVERYTHING: Yes, in traditional real estate you kind of “own” the properties. But there’s also a ton of debt tied to most real estate investments, which means the property isn’t truly yours.

A lender can take it away if you miss a payment. Not to mention, loan payments really impact your profit margins.

With Digital Leasing, you own the assets outright (with a 90-95% profit margin), which means you have all the power and all the control.

Feeling Blessed

3) Little To No Startup Costs: It’s possible to get into Digital Leasing with zero dollars upfront. Because, using the strategies outlined in this program, you can get a client to pay you BEFORE spending a penny out of your own pocket...even before you do any work.

Even without getting paid in advance, you can have your first Digital Rental Property up, running, and generating profits for less than $100.

Lance Lead Gen

4) Minimal Ongoing Expenses: With traditional real estate, monthly expenses are HIGH. Between loan payments, ongoing maintenance, and repairs (not to mention the possibility of having to go through the eviction process), profit margins are slim.

Plus, whenever you have a vacancy, factor in the costs to turn over a unit (plus the fact there’s no money coming in until the next tenant moves in).

With Digital Leasing, a 100% online business with minimal maintenance and ongoing costs, you never even have to think about that risk.

Scott Lead Gen

5) Easy To Duplicate: Ok, here’s the best part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up and running, you can literally DOUBLE your income with a few clicks, a couple keystrokes, and a single phone call (and you don’t actually need the phone call).

Remember: each Digital Rental Property is worth $500 to $2,000 a month in semi-passive income (over 95% profit). Every time you decide to create another one and increase your income, it gets easier.

Because you have more knowledge, more experience, more results, and more momentum.

If you wanted to double your income with traditional real estate investing, you’d have to double your monthly rent, double your deals/number of units OR double your profit margins. And, guaranteed that’s a lot harder than a few clicks and a few minutes of your life.


6) Make Money Helping Real People: This part is what makes it all worth it. With Digital Leasing, you’re actually helping people by solving your clients’ biggest problem:

Small, local businesses need more customers, and with Digital Leasing, you are unleashing a flood of happy, paying customers for these businesses.

You make money by helping them make money.

Not a big, faceless corporation either...a small business owner who’s using that money to put food on the table for their family, start a college fund for their kids, or take care of a sick parent.

Once you see how Digital Leasing makes a real impact in the lives of real people, you’ll sleep like a baby with a big smile on your face.


Now, the choice is yours. You could continue browsing, looking at opportunities like Fortune Builders which could one day make you money.

You could continue researching, never making a decision.

OR, you could take a look inside, consider what you really want, and join a program that makes your dreams a reality. At the same time, joining a community of over 2,000 successful students that are living life on their own terms thanks to Digital Leasing.

A consistent, reliable, semi-passive stream of income that doesn’t depend on you or your time to keep producing profits.

All while genuinely helping real people who are grateful and happy to pay for it.

If this sounds more like what you want out of life (or if you just want some nice side income), click here to learn more about Digital Leasing.

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