Over her 30-plus-year career in real estate, Wendi Warm earned a reputation for always putting her clients’ needs above her own—even if that meant getting a little dirty in the process.
“Wendi sold one of the first Stonebridge lots right out of the gate, before we had even cleared it, and we were up tromping around the bush in Stonebridge trying to find the lot her client bought,” remembered Duane Jackson, longtime friend, developer and current municipal councillor. “She was just really positive and looking to do the best for her client and if that meant clomping over creeks and logs and climbing rocks to see what the view was like, she was right in front of it.”
The local realtor and co-owner of the Whistler Real Estate Company (WREC) died last month at 55 after a three-year battle with cancer. She leaves behind her husband Randy and three sons, Phelan, Will and Beck.
Landing in Whistler in 1990, Warm later joined the WREC team and over the years became an integral and beloved part of Whistler’s tightknit real-estate community, regarded for her warmth, empathy and integrity in an industry not always known for those qualities.
“We’re an industry that tends to be criticized a lot. Often one person can do something that will paint us in a bit of an unfortunate image,” said Pat Kelly, founder of the WREC. “She was never that kind of a realtor. She got along with everybody. She was an example to people on how to do business, how to present yourself to clients. She was a positive influence on clients.”
After 21 years at the helm, Kelly agreed to sell the WREC to Warm and her eldest son Phelan in late 2020, despite numerous offers from outside of Whistler to buy the company.
“It was important to me that whoever took the company to the next level and moved it forward into the future was someone who understood our history and our culture. It is difficult to find someone like that if they haven’t been part of the Whistler community for an extended period of time,” he explained. “But I felt someone like Wendi, who cared deeply about her coworkers, understood the history of the company and wanted to maintain the culture that we believe we have … [would] certainly want to continue that tradition, recognizing that Whistler is a community, not just a place to sell homes.”
In an email, Phelan said he’s determined to carry on his mother’s legacy at the firm.
“Our family is steadfast in our commitment to WREC and we are motivated to see that Wendi’s vision for the company as a deeply admired, market leading real estate firm that gives back to our communities is realized in the years to come,” he wrote.
Warm’s people-first approach extended to her team as well. She was a beloved coworker who treated her colleagues, like most of the people in her life she cared about, like family, and thought nothing of foregoing a lucrative commission if it meant it would go to one of her team members instead.
Her reputation even extended to the wider real estate community, said Ann Chiasson, co-owner of RE/MAX Sea to Sky.
“She had the respect of the real estate community and her clients, of course,” she said. “Obviously she was one of those old-school realtors who really took the time to get to know her clients. Not everyone does that.
“She was a great person to deal with and a lovely person to have as a friend.”
Anyone who knew Warm will also tell you how dedicated she was to her family. When her sons, Beck and Will, wanted to pursue their hockey careers further, Warm and her husband upended their lives and careers to relocate to Vancouver, a move that evidently paid off, with Beck playing in the ECHL and Will playing for McGill University, where’s he’s attending business school.
“She did that at the sacrifice, perhaps, of a bit of her real estate career,” said Kelly. “She really put family above all other things.”
A celebration of life is planned for Friday, July 22 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. It is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Friends and family are welcome. Warm had asked that any donations in her memory be made to the Sea to Sky Hospice Society, where she received end-of-life care.