Congratulations to Sammi and Alex!

By: Lauren Weber


We had the honor of helping Sammi and Alex sell their home last year and since then they had been patiently searching for their replacement home. Upon exploring different areas of Torrance and touring a number of great candidates, they found a beautiful place that perfectly fits their family. Their home search was thorough and we evaluated different avenues such as major fixers, investment opportunities, new construction, but they ultimately ended up with a newer built, move in ready home.

Going into the process we knew Sammi and Alex were smart, business-minded people with strong core family values. However, we soon realized that helping them sell their home was only giving us a glimpse into those admirable traits. It was through this second phase of their real estate journey that we gained a deeper understanding of how strategic they are when it comes to planning, as well as looking at all the numbers from an investment perspective. They had a clear understanding of the importance of calculating their home value with the potential upgrades they had planned, while keeping in mind their future plans for resale. They took everything into consideration – even including the opinions of their personal Feng Shui master!

Working together and helping them look at the different angles of real estate purchasing was a lot of fun. It is obvious that their business skills are due to their successes in running their own family business. We are left inspired by their hard work and dedication to not only their work, but also to their family. Their home search was never about just the two of them; they always took great consideration into their children’s future, as well as the rest of their extended family of siblings and parents. Hosting family parties is a high priority and they had a clear vision for the importance of being able to provide a home for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you Sammi and Alex for the opportunity to work together again and for showing us how hard work can transcend into a bigger contribution to the ones you love.

Neighborhood Spotight: Anaïs de la Morandais

By: Cathy Strini

Every Neighborhood Spotlight participant has been unique.. but so incredibly inspiring! This month’s feature, Anaïs de la Morandais, kept up that trend! Originally hailing from France, Anaïs has studied and taught music in several European countries, but (lucky for us South Bay-ers) has chosen to settle right here in Golden Hills.

Anaïs was gracious enough to welcome us into her newly renovated home, give us a tour, tell us about her life and even play for us on the piano (Check out the video below!).  On first impression, Anaïs is poised and charming, but as we chatted we were soon able to catch a glimpse of her fun sense of humor and passion for music!


Lauren, Anais and Michelle



Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world.

Since her arrival to California (barely a year ago!) Anaïs has wasted no time in establishing herself and finding ways to share her passion for music with the local communities. As stated on her website, Anaïs first created the Santa Monica Youth Choir, then served as the Choir Program Director where she taught “voice, music theory, and ear training while combining various methods in vocal technique, percussion, art, and memorization”. An ode to her French background, Anaïs has founded several Francophile groups, for both children and adults (details below for anyone interested in attending!) This past December, Anaïs founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.

Check out the Atelier Musical website to learn more about the individually tailored lessons available! Read on to discover more about Anaïs …


1. How did you get involved in music and what instruments do you play / have played?

I’ve always wanted to play music since I was 2 years old. I started with piano and the celtic harp when i was 6. And I sang quite a bit in choir and at school. Then I chose to play trombone in middle school and discovered choir conducting in college. That is when I decided to become a choir conductor.

2. What brought you to California and what have you been up to since you moved here?

I met my husband in India when I was travelling. At the time, I was studying music in Austria, and I moved to be with him in Santa Monica after I received my master degree. I created a choir program for Santa Monica Youth Orchestra in 2014 that I led for one and half year before we moved to the Golden Hills of Redondo Beach. I wanted to serve more the local community so I created my own enterprise called Atelier Musical Inc., where I teach voice and piano lessons in the area. But I still do many projects in Venice Beach, Mar Vista, Beverly Hills and at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes

Another project of mine is called Enchantés – the only French Vocal Ensemble in L.A. I created it a year ago and our second performance is already coming up! Rehearsals are 7:30 to 9pm on Tuesdays. (*More info below!*)

Mélodies and Do Ré Mi are two french children choirs and the music is in French as if you were in Paris. Both are held at the French Conservatory of Music and at the French Exchange After School program.

I also have several private students from ages 4 to 15 enrolled in piano and voice lessons.

3. Tell us a little about your experience with children and how you started working with them:

I love music and can’t help sharing this passion with others. With very little money to support myself through college, I worked hard and paid for my studies teaching music to kids. I was just 17 and have been teaching since then!

4. How is the South Bay (Redondo in particular) unique from everywhere else you have lived?

Since it is a safe area, I find the South Bay to be the perfect family-oriented community. It is both quiet and friendly. We know many of our neighbors, and it makes me feel special to be in such a close-knit neighborhood.

5. How do you plan on incorporating the local community as your business expands? 

Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.
6. What is your favorite song to perform on the piano and why?

I love to play classical music. At the moment, I am having tremendous fun working on a Gigue of Scarlatti. This music is so joyful and exciting to play!

7. What lessons/programs do you offer for children?

I offer 30 min, 45 min, or one hour private or semi-private classes in Piano and Vocal Technique. All the lessons are available in English, French or German.

The group lessons are part of my choir programs like Enchantés (for Adults and teenagers), and Mélodies and Do Ré Mi (for kids).


*For clients that mention “What’s up Redondo” and who live in the Golden Hills area, Anais will waive her transportation fee and charge only $35 instead of $45 for a 30 min. lesson. Or $50 instead of $60 for 45 min. lesson. And of course, the first lesson is always free.*


“Enchantés is an exciting francophile group meeting once a week to speak french and sing beautiful masterpieces from renaissance to contemporary repertoire, including French “chansons” and traditional folk music. Every season, we have a specific theme and one or two performances for the public. Located in Los Angeles/Santa Monica Area, this choir is for 16+ years of age. $10 suggested donation/class. Enchantés. Students and adults. Tuesdays 7:30-9 PM.”

“In September 2015, Anaïs launched a children French choir at the French conservatory of Music of Los Angeles. Specifically designed for bi-lingual children, Mélodies is a perfect weekly meeting for music initiation in French. Students explore the vast repertoire of french melodies composed for children as they would at the Conservatory in Paris! Mélodies. French Conservatory of Music. Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 PM.”

A Reflection on Home Inspection ;)

By: Cathy Strini


Having your purchase offer accepted is one of the more exciting moments in the home-buying process, especially if it has come after an exhausting search! However, it is important to remember that this is not the end of the whole process, but rather the beginning of the escrow period .. which generally lasts another 30-45 days.

Escrow is  defined as a deposit of funds, a deed or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event. Basically the escrow period ensures that no monetary funds, or the property itself, changes hands before all the instructions detailed in the contract are met. When all the conditions are met, the escrow is “closed” and the deal is complete. (Celebration time!)

One condition that must be satisfied before closing escrow is the home inspection contingency. *Note: when drafting your purchase offer, you may choose to waive this provision, forfeiting your right to conduct inspections.* This contingency states that if a home inspection reveals significant defects, the buyer may back out of the offer within a certain timeframe without being penalized. A less dramatic (and more common) outcome is that some defects will be found and the repairs will be negotiated and delegated to either the buyer or seller. This is one part of the process where your real estate agent is particularly essential! As “professional negotiators” it is our duty to get you the best deal and also to ensure that you know as much as possible about your home’s condition before you move in.

The inspection process generally starts with an inspector physically examining the  property from the roof to the foundation. This process could take around 2-3 hours, during which time the inspector will assess the condition of various systems including plumbing, heating and cooling to identify any trouble spots. He or she will then detail their findings in a written report within 24 to 48 hours of completing the physical inspection.

From there, the buyer can review the report with a general contractor to determine which repairs are recommended or are time-sensitive. This may also be the time to conduct more in-depth inspections (see page two of the  attached Buyer’s Inspection Advisory for a full list of available inspections). As a buyer, the choice (and usually the cost) of the inspector is up to you. Inspection prices vary, based both on company and type of inspection, but some (such as termite) may be free and then offer a quote following the report. As always, do your research to ensure that you not only get a fair price, but also a qualified and thorough inspector! You may refer to your realtor for their suggestions of which companies to use, but ultimately the decision is yours to make and are encouraged to do your research to make sure you higher a company you are confident in.

Sample Buyer’s Inspection Election

We know this list can be over-whelming! Every buyer has their own agenda and priorities, so every experience is different. However, we have found that clients usually like to conduct sewer-line inspections, especially when the home has been vacant for any amount of time or if there are mature trees on the lot. Inactivity may result in defective pipes, or tree roots may wrap around them and need to be removed.

Roof inspections are also common, especially with tiled roofs.  Roof damage or missing/broken tiles could allow water to enter the home, leading to costly repairs both inside and outside the home. Buyers also commonly choose to do chimney inspections, as unstable foundations or seismic activity may make using your fireplace a hazard!

The inspection period can be stressful – it is never fun to find defects in your home. However, identifying these issues and negotiating who is responsible for fixing them prior to closing escrow could save you a lot of money (and headaches later down the line!)

Congratulations to KC!

By: Lauren Weber and Michelle Accetta


What a pleasure and honor to have met KC and to have represented her in selling her home. From the moment we met KC we could tell she was a successful business woman. Working with her we witnessed first hand how she became this way. She always had a positive attitude, and business minded mentality. It was easy to see how this mindset brought her such success.

Upon closing, we took KC out to dinner to spend some time celebrating the closing escrow. Little did we know WE were the ones actually in for a treat. KC openly shared about her travels and her appreciation for immersing herself in different cultures with us. We got to learn the story of how she acquired her success and her advise for us as younger entrepreneurs. We left inspired!

What moved us most about KC is the freedom she has to create her life. She worked hard straight out of college to grow her business and wealth. She shared with us how owning income property has played a large role in her success and the story of how she starting acquiring property. Her persistence and grit paid off, and she now spends periods of time each year traveling the world and enjoying different cultures (something both of us are passionate about doing). KC is a real example of what hard work and making smart moves can get you and truly is an inspiration to us. We take her words of worldly wisdom wholeheartedly. 

Working with KC she also reminded us of the importance of appreciation. Throughout the process, she always showed her gratitude and thanked us for our hard work. This made us grateful to her and to have the opportunity to work with her as our client, to go above and beyond and make sure she was taken care of. The small words “thank you” can go a far way and we will always take that with us with every person we encounter. She shared that is was her travels that made her so appreciative for everything that we have here in America, day in and day out. We are so grateful and thankful to have met KC and are forever thankful for her kindness and wisdom.