I don't agree with:
- Architect will want a house to be fancy or make a statement about society
Ask around for recommendations. A good architect is like a graphic designer -- they're paid to make you happy by turning your vision into a reality.
Yes, there are quite a few out there who deal in the ultra-fancy, but there's quite a few out there who like nice, simple lines and know how to get good value / convenience / etc out of a space. (is that making a statement about society? well, maybe, I guess).
Any time someone says that they put something into their house because the architect wanted it, that's a sign not to go with the architect -- the architect can build their own house if they want stuff in there, this is your house, and you should only put in things you actually want. (although, I do recommend a roof ... they come in handy. And some doors & windows)
Some architects specialize in certain types of houses, and they're not all equally great in all fields, so you might need to ask around. You should be able to find one that matches what sort of things you're looking for (mansions vs. homey vs. modern vs. efficient, etc).
Yes, they are going to cost you money, but they're also going to save time in some aspects, and if they can keep you from building a bad design by identifying a problem before it's built, they're invaluable.
(disclaimer -- I wanted to be an architect, and went to a school planning on transfering out after my core classes were done, but never did ... I did take some architectural history classes and stuff like that, though)