The short answer is No, you don't. However there is allot more to it than that. Since there were no consultants prior to 1994 and the program has been around since 1961, HUD says a 203k consultant isn't an absolute necessity. It is, however, REQUIRED by most lenders to facilitate the process.
Prior to 1994 there were many instances where the FHA 203k closing
took 4-6 months, not all but way too many. Most Realtors and home buyers
don't want to wait that long. A good consultant can shorten that
time-line to 2-3 weeks and sometimes even more. This can allow the
lender to close in 21-35 days pretty regularly.
There is a "self help" possibility built into the program but most
lenders have redifined that to include licensed contractors who want to
buy and fix up their own home. The bookkeeping may be too much for most.
If you have a streamlined k you are "in effect" being the general
contractor and hiring the sub contractors for your project. If you have
to switch this to a full 203k after you have started the process for
some reason there are some lenders that will allow yout to continue
being the general contractor and maintain your cost savings. Not
typical, if you have this situation you may have to change lenders to
achieve your goal. I would be happy to talk to your lender for you if
you have this situation and see if we can't maintain your multiple