Duo's renovation of Detroit Land Bank homes in 'Bargain Block' debuts on HGTV

A year-and-a-half ago, two Detroiters rehabbed abandoned homes in their neighborhood - like something you would see on HGTV.

Now, that's actually happening. They're rehabbing homes and it's on HGTV  with a new show 'Bargain Block' that premieres Wednesday night.

We first met Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas in October 2019 as they were transforming homes in northwest Detroit. The duo set out to convert Detroit, one block at a time. Now, the world gets to meet them with their new show on HGTV.

"It's finally coming together and I'm just so excited, so proud," said Bynum.

Through the pandemic, the two continued filming the new show, which chronicles their efforts to transform a neighborhood by turning abandoned houses into homes.

They buy the homes from the Detroit Land Bank for around $1,000 then they a few spend thousand dollars to fix them up before selling them for a little bit more than they spent. 

"We're proud to work here and I'm really thankful that we get the opportunity to because it's a really cool place and I feel like we've kind of made a little bit of a difference," Bynum said.

The two moved to Detroit from Colorado a few years ago and have made a big difference.

"Eighteen houses, nine episodes," said Thomas. "An unbelievable amount of work - but we finally got it done."

And it's been a community effort - not just beautifying the neighborhood but putting people to work.

"We have a lot more contracting teams locally that are working with us now which is super exciting," Bynum said. "We have some exciting news - we're almost finished buying a new building on Grand River."

That building will serve as the new home for their home furnishing shop now located in Ferndale - it will also serve as the studio for the art and furniture they make - as they continue to rehab more homes.

"With the uptick in the price per square foot, other investors are starting to pay attention to these neighborhoods - which is great," Bynum said.

But the duo admits there are challenges when it comes to selling their homes here in the city. While they've helped raise the property values in their neighborhood - they say it's impossible to get a fair appraisal.

"We'll get a great offer for a house and then the appraisal will come back in some cases, 20 percent below what the offer is, and we have multiple offers," Bynum said. "So it's frustrating to see how the mortgage industry - I feel like it picks on Detroit a little bit."

They are hoping that will change - and allow more people to move into these homes.

We're already asking if there will be a season two in another neighborhood.

"We're starting to look in new neighborhoods where you can still get a thousand dollar house and do the same thing essentially in a new area," Bynum said. "So that's the great thing about Detroit - you've got a lot of reinvention possibilities."

Bargain Block airs tonight at 9 p.m. on HGTV.