But what really set their quest in motion was an unusual flier in a packet from the principal of their children's school. The flier urged parents who are in the market for buying or selling a home to solicit the services of a real estate agent named Edward Kim.
Some might have viewed the pitch as an advertisement, but the flier explained why the school was recommending Kim: He would donate 20 percent of his commission on any sale back to Arnold Elementary. The Vegas were sold. Using Kim as their real estate agent, they bought a house a few blocks from the school for $660,000.
Fast forward to Friday morning. At an Arnold Elementary assembly with Torrance Unified's top school leaders on hand, hundreds of elementary students cheered as Kim -- also a parent at the school -- made good on that promise, handing their principal an oversized check for $2,625.
Generous as it is, a check for a couple thousand bucks might not sound like quite enough to warrant such an occasion. But the event's behind-the-scenes organizers believe they have hit upon a new way of raising money for public schools -- one that combines philanthropy with pure capitalism.
The event was put on by a group whose name -- Community Funding Solutions -- could easily be mistaken for a thousand other well-meaning nonprofit groups. But this outfit is unapologetically for-profit.
"It's a for-profit, philanthropic organization," explained Bennett Liss, one of the co-founders. "If every person chose a Realtor through this program, there would be no more shortfalls in our schools."
Real-estate deals, he added, are the largest transactions that happen in society.
"How many doughnut sales do you need to do to make $2,600?"
Community Funding Solutions boils down to this: a list of real estate agents in Southern California - numbering 90 so far - who have agreed to donate 20 percent of their commissions to every home-buyer's charity of choice.
Liss' company charges the agents an annual fee of $3,000 to $5,000 to be the featured agent for a specific charity.
Any given charity can have no more than one agent, but any given agent is free to take on more than one charity - for an additional fee.
In return, Community Funding Solutions sees to it that the featured agents are marketed heavily by the schools (and other charities) that have signed up.
"The schools do not want to become commercialized," said Liss, a 55-year-old Woodland Hills resident. "So this has to become like a PBS kind of sponsorship. Very classy."
Kim is the featured agent for Arnold Elementary and four other schools in Torrance: Walteria, Riviera and Seaside elementary schools and South High. His annual fee to Community Funding Solutions thus came to around $20,000.
That has purchased him exclusive advertising rights on the websites and principal-penned newsletters of all those schools.
"In any business, there's an investment you gotta make," Kim said. "You could call it a risk. I just saw it as an opportunity."
It might sound like a lot of money, but Kim has already recouped about half of his investment with the sale to the Vega family.
But he also likes the idea of making a contribution to the school that two of his own children attend. (He has an older child at Calle Mayor Middle School.)
"I feel very proud to be a part of it," he said.
In addition to Kim's five schools in Torrance, the list of schools benefitting from the Community Funding Solutions model includes 73 more in Capistrano, Moorpark and Huntington Beach. Also on the list are several charities, including Angels Way, a maternity home in Woodland Hills, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County.
Does it work? Tough to say: After a couple years of planning, the organization is fresh out of the oven. Friday's check presentation marked the first of its kind for a school. (The only other charity to benefit so far is the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County, which recently received a check for $1,500.) On Tuesday, the group will cut a $4,000 check to Agoura High School near Thousand Oaks.
The creators of the concept are an accomplished - and colorful - cast of characters.
Liss is the inventor of the system that schools use to call parents in the event of an emergency. His company -- PACE Communications -- was bought out by software company Blackboard Inc. Now his technology is a staple of school districts across the nation.
The other co-founder, Jamie Alcroft, is a comedian with plenty of "Tonight Show" credits to his name (both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno). Back in the 1980s, Alcroft was also one-half of the comedic duo featured in the syndicated show "Comedy Break" with Mack Dryden.
And then there's David Pollock, the company's director of education funding.
His left-brain credentials are impressive: school board member in Moorpark, market planner for Boeing, senior director for program development with the California School Boards Association, MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Among Pollock's right-brain credentials is his claim to fame: He portrayed Rudi Stein, the nerdy pitcher in the original "Bad News Bears" movie.
Liss himself has acting credentials. Before his invention, he landed supporting roles on TV shows such as Columbo, Matlock and CHiPs. He also acted in several Broadway plays.
During Friday morning's check presentation, Liss -- who wore a hoodie to the event and still had bed head -- crept around the crowded blacktop, aiming his smart phone this way and that, capturing the event on video.
As for the Vegas, they can't say enough good things about their real-estate agent - and fellow Arnold Elementary parent.
"I want the readers to know: Not only was Ed a fantastic real-estate agent, he's an amazing person for giving back part of his commission," said Gloria.
Follow Rob Kuznia on Twitter at http://twitter.com/robkuznia