Squatters, scorpions and scorching temperatures — oh my!
It’s all just part of the job for Eric and Lindsey Bennett, the stars of HGTV’s Desert Flippers, a home renovation show set in sunny Palm Springs. The couple, who are Wisconsin natives, flipped their first home together just one month after first meeting, and then used the profit to move to the California city and join the house flipping game.
More than a decade later, the Bennetts have parlayed their talents into a fan favorite show that focuses on flipping some seriously scary properties into tranquil desert oases. With their small-town charm, candid banter and adorable cameos from their three young sons, they’re earning comparisons to fellow HGTV power couple Chip and Joanna Gaines.
“Chip and Joanna obviously are huge. As a couple, their marriage — they set a great example, so we of course aspire to be like them,” Lindsey tells PEOPLE. But they’re still eager to forge their own path. “We’re super comfortable in our shoes, we’re not trying to fill anybody else’s. We’re just trying to do our thing,” Eric says, “but to be in that same company is crazy.”
Part of Desert Flippers’ appeal is the couple’s sweet and cheeky moments. “We are such a balanced couple in our strengths and our weaknesses and what they bring to the table —” Lindsey begins, before Eric jumps in to add, “Yeah, Lindsey’s got a bunch of strengths, and they offset my weaknesses.”
Joking about his “irrational exuberance” over finding deals on houses and then convincing his wife they’re worth flipping, Eric admits, “I usually have to swindle or trick Lindsey to get into the car with me, and she thinks we’re going to a romantic lunch or something and then boom! We’re outside an ugly house.”
Holding onto their values and to each other has helped them to stay true to themselves as their show has gained popularity.
“When we first started this, I had a little question of ‘How am I supposed to be and who am I supposed to be?’” Lindsey admits. “But we’re very grounded in God, and we evaluated what our direction was, and we said let’s just be ourselves. And it’s made this road super enjoyable and easy.”
When it comes to adjusting to their own mounting fame, the Bennetts agree that it hasn’t changed them very much. Most people who approach them around town simply want to talk about their own renovations, which they’re happy to chat about. “We love to talk about it. It’s all we do, we live and breathe it,” Lindsey enthuses. “That and our family and our children, it’s just our lives.”
While they’re always happy to stop for a photo, it can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act with their kids around — but that’s just part of their real-world appeal. “What really usually happens is we’re at Costco with all of our children… and it’s like herding feral cats,” Lindsey says with a laugh. “Someone will stop us and want to take a picture, and it’s this juggling of like, ‘Okay quick, let’s get a picture while our kids are wreaking havoc on the store.’”
The third season of Desert Flippers premieres Tuesday, July 24, at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.