Jeff Rutt did not pick home building as his first career. For 10 years, he and his wife worked hard on a dairy farm that stretched across 200 acres in Lancaster County, Pa. It was rewarding work, but it was tough too, full of 100 hour weeks and plenty of sore muscles. Jeff started thinking about a change and figured he would search for a career that offered flexible hours and more stability.
“I looked for something with lower risk and fewer hours,” said Jeff with his usual dry humor. “So I got into home building.”
In 1992, he started Keystone Custom Homes with the same approach he used on his successful farm: be efficient, never give up and always keep a positive outlook. Jeff’s Christian faith kept him strong during those early days as he worked hard to build his company from the ground up.
After just six months in business, Keystone Custom Homes had already sold 12 homes. Jeff never looked back, and business continues to grow today. In more than two decades of home building, Jeff has built a reputation of being an honest, hardworking Christian man who won’t settle for less than the best for his customers, and it shows. Keystone Custom Homes has been named “America’s Best Builder” three times and was recently named one of the top 100 builders in the country.
But building homes isn’t Jeff’s only passion. He founded two non-profits that provide financial assistance to poverty-stricken people all over the world. Homes for Hope works with builders, subcontractors and others in the construction industry to build a new home for free. The proceeds from the home sale go to HOPE International to provide loans for struggling businessmen and entrepreneurs in countries where the economy is hurting.
Clients use these loans to buy equipment, supplies or anything else needed for their businesses. Sometimes all it takes is $100 to give a local shop or farm the boost it needs to be successful. The loan is paid back, and HOPE International uses the money to provide a loan to another person in need.
“HOPE International doesn’t just give handouts,” Jeff said. “We want to break the cycle of poverty so that these people who are working hard can become contributing members of society.”
Jeff invites you to follow him along on his blog as he talks about his life and faith, the home building industry and the great work being done by Homes for Hope, HOPE International and other non-profit organizations.