James Robert Deal
Mortgage Loan Officer, Attorney, Author

That's my picture. Some call me James. Some call me Robert. My wife calls me Jimmie. My brother calls me Jim. Just call me before you make a final decision about refinancing your home or modifying your mortgage.

I'm what you call a "recovering attorney." You have heard of recovering alcoholics? Well, I'm a "recovering attorney." I was fascinated by being an attorney. But I worked myself too hard at it. I worked in the legal salt mines. I litigated before judges and juries. I have written probably 1,000 purchase and sale agreements, residential and commercial. I have escrowed probably 3,000 residential, commercial, and business escrows. I have facilitated probably 60 tax-deferred exchanges. I have written probably 200 wills and trusts. It was a challenge, and fun in a way. But it was too exhausting.

In 2000 I figured out that doing mortgages would use all my skills as an attorney and give me a huge and unfair advantage over other mortgage professionals - and that I could deliver more value to clients, do work that was less exhausting, and make more money.

It worked very well until July of 2007 when mortgage lending hit a brick wall. Lenders were not lending. Property values were dropping. Lenders were requiring borrowers to document their income fully. Borrowers had trouble refinancing. The people with the biggest problems were those who bought using adjustable rate loans. They couldn't refinance out of them because there was not enough equity in the properties.

Things changed for mortgage brokers. The Washington Department of Financial Institutions made it difficult for us to operate. For that reason, I shut down Deal Mortgage Corporation. I became a loan officer for a bank and affiliated myself with Envoy Mortgage.

The mortgage business went into hibernation, so I went back to practicing law. I got involved in mortgage loan modification, in which clients, instead of getting a new loan, modify the loan they have. Under the right circumstances, the interest rate can be lowered, and arrearages can be added to principal. Mortgage modification has kept me busy, and that is where I put a lot of my work time. Most of the people I do modifications for have tried doing the modification on their own and gotten frustrated. Modification can be done on a a do-it-yourself basis, and it might work out just fine. But the banks are not your friend. They pretend to be your counsel, but they are just looking out for the bank. If you are doing it yourself, you should at least consult with a lawyer experienced in the field. Some people just don't the time. It does take a lot of time. Some are just too emotional to handle it themselves. They are about to lose the place they live. My fee is typically 1.0% of the loan balance, which is cheaper than most refinances. I should charge more. When it comes to modification, I have had some great successes. So far not a single one of my clients has lost his or her home to foreclosure. Unfortunately, I cannot push a modification through if my clients are unemployed and have little income. I can stall and ask for hardship forbearances. I can advise clients as to when and whether to play the bankruptcy card.

I got involved in helping people buy property without getting new loans, that is, by doing assumptions of existing loans, doing wrap-around deeds of trust, and doing lease-option agreements. I wrote the President about making loans assumable. I send copies to Tim Geithner and others. Apparently my message has not gotten through.

I no longer do residential mortgages. I prefer to handle commercial mortgages only. I ask for a third of my fee up front. It works much better that way. The client is much more loyal. And as an attorney I will take a look at your overall situation.  

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When I am not earning a living I am busy planting and digging in my garden, inventing recipes, playing my musical instruments, and work on my web sites and books.

I work with my dear wife Emelyn who is my only employee.

I went to the University of Washington for law school. I wanted to go into environmental law. But I couldn't break into Seattle's very tightly knit environmental law club. I worked in Consumer Protection law. I was a member of SCAN, Seattle Consumer Action Network, now Washington Consumer Action Network. I mostly represented people who bought used cars and got ripped off. To make a decent living I got into real estate law. 

Before that I was a school counselor. I quit after one year. Teachers don't' get the respect they deserve. Actually, I had already taken the Law School Aptitude Test, the L-SAT, before I started work as a counselor. It was while I was working on my M.Ed. in Psych that I took a legal seminar regarding student rights. That's what first got me interested in law.

Before I was a school counselor, I was a seminarian. I was interested in the history and philosophy of religions and comparative religion. I made use of that background in writing my book, What To Serve A Goddess When She Comes For Dinner. Click here to read excerpts. Click here to buy a copy. It is a book of love and food. It is a speculation, a contemplation, a hypothesis, a meditation, a prayer about how to civilize this crazy world of ours.

In 2007 I became active in fighting drinking water fluoridation.  See my blogs at http://fluoride-class-action.com. I am glad finally to be doing environmental law after all these years. There is no pay, but there is great satisfaction.  

I am also a transit activist. See my Comprehensive Transportation blog at http://www.comprehensive-transportation.blogspot.com.

In telling you all about myself, I am making this point: We are real people here. I do my pro bono work. When you send me business, you help me improve our lives generally.

And we will treat you well and see that you get good service for a reasonable fee.

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Call me at 425-774-6611 or 888-999-2022 for further information. Or e-mail me. The fax number is 425-776-8081.

For details about how to apply for a mortgage go here.


Copyright 2010 James Robert Deal. All rights reserved.