Why Keith And Evan Of Rock The Block Care About Designing Affordable Houses - Exclusive

Season 3 of HGTV's hit competition show "Rock The Block" is now airing on Discovery+. Just as in past seasons, the competition is stiff as talented home designers go head-to-head to remodel entire houses. This season, they're working in Greater Charleston, South Carolina, and each team of two has a $225,000 budget to remodel identical homes. The winners get a street named in their honor. Competing for the prize are twins Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb of "Unsellable Houses," Dave and Jenny Marrs of "Fixer to Fabulous," Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson of "Married to Real Estate," and Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of "Bargain Block."

In conjunction with Season 3 airing, Bynum and Thomas had an exclusive interview with The List to discuss their experience on the series. The house on "Rock The Block" was much larger, and the budget was far more extensive than they are used to working with. That's because, when they aren't competing in HGTV shows, the couple lives in Detroit, where they remodel affordable homes. You can see the process for their Detroit remodels on their own show, "Bargain Block." While speaking to The List, they shared how they started designing affordable houses together and why keeping their designs affordable is something they're passionate about.

They started flipping affordable homes out of necessity

When Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas began flipping homes together, it wasn't a career move. They were simply renovating the house they'd bought together in Colorado. The renovation took them nine months because Thomas was finishing his Ph.D. in physics, and they both had full-time jobs. After completing their own home, they bought and sold a second one for profit. At that point, they started to consider renovating houses as a career move, and Thomas had to decide if he wanted to continue the path he was on in physics or take the risk of going into business. "It was definitely a left-field choice for sure. But I liked what we were doing in Colorado, and it was paying the bills, and we were having fun with it. So I just decided to just continue on with that and just try and grow that business," Thomas said.

They needed a place to start their renovation business. "We also didn't have a lot of money. So we didn't have tons of capital to go in and like just start flipping million-dollar houses. So we had to start somewhere that we could actually afford," Thomas explained. Bynum had seen another house flipper on Instagram talking about how affordable the houses were in Detroit. "That's what put Detroit on the radar for me was that particular social media interaction," Bynum explained. So, the pair moved to the city to give their dream a shot.

How their business model became a passion

Since then, the pair have continued renovating affordable houses in Detroit. And the business has grown into their show "Bargain Block." The reason for keeping their renovations affordable is still partially practical. Evan Thomas explained that because of the Detroit market, most of the buyers need affordable options. "Those houses just don't sell for $300,000. That's just not what happens there. So when we first moved here, we were just listing it at the appropriate comp range, and we just kept doing that," Thomas said. They also found that creating affordable homes was a smart business model because there was an underserved market of buyers looking for homes under $150,000.

However, there is more to their work than the business side. Keith Bynum added that creating well-designed homes at a reasonable price grew into a passion of theirs. "[We've been] able to give somebody something that isn't on the market, and that's what we've continued to do. And that's where the passion I found kind of came alive, was seeing people light up, having an opportunity to own something like what we can sell at the price we can sell it at. Then that just became addictive." Bynum went on to joke, "I was just like, 'Everybody has to have a hundred thousand house.' I was like, Oprah. Like everybody got a house!"

"Rock The Block" Season 3 airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and discovery+.