If you’ve been paying more and more attention these days to the covers of some of those high end real estate magazines, you surely know they’re all custom designed and a pricey architect was behind each creation. Yet if you’re thinking about building a rental property from the ground up, a new constructiondo you need an architect rental, you don’t need that level of craftsmanship.

But do you need an architect to help you design your home? Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not an architect is right for your next real estate investment.

Rather than designing your home with a clean slate, you can save money by using building plans from a template. These so-called “stock” building plans are pre-made by licensed architects and all you need to do is order the plans and specs from the website or catalog. The potential drawback here is making sure the plans you pick out are right for your climate and soil conditions, among other environmental factors. Much of the time, an architect is hired later on to help adjust existing plans.

You can also save potential architect fees by using a local builder who has a suite of floor plans already prepared. All you need to do is pick out the proper floor plan including the number of bedrooms, baths and select from a large list of amenities. Simply pick out the plan and upgrade as needed. No architect required. But if you do want a more “customized” look, depending upon the subdivision the appearance of homes in the area will be remarkably similar due to the offerings from the builder as well as building codes and guidelines issued to help the neighborhood blend. Conformity is king here.

It may be that an architect is needed during the latter stages of a project if your plans are pulled from a set of predesigned templates. If you’re not sure if that works for you, talk to a few architects who can give you an idea about what you can expect.