Think of your architect as your insurance policy...
One of my greatest frustrations is watching or hearing of people having disastrous experiences remodeling or building. 90+% of the time it turns out they 1. Didn't hire an architect, 2. Didn't have an enforceable or specific contract with their builder(s), and 3. Often didn't understand the building and zoning regulations in play.
Construction is a daunting undertaking, rife with pitfalls, and as the client/owner, you get stuck with the bill and delays for every one of them. Hiring an architect means that you are hiring not only a professional with an incredible amount of education and training under their belt, but also an expert in your corner as insurance to help navigate the construction process and all of its relationships.
Architects tend to be viewed as a nice luxury to be able to afford, but not essential. The perception of saving 15% and time is a powerful disincentive to hiring an architect when you can just do it yourself or the contractor says he'll do it for you.
Fact is, Architects go through 7 years of education plus years of professional internship and a battery of 7 tests to acquire the skills and knowledge to do their job, an important part of which is to protect their clients throughout the process.
The bottom line of all this: Research and hire an architect. As long as their fee is reasonable, they will likely pay for themselves before the project is complete, and you will have a far better home to live in and eventually resell at a larger profit.