Jennifer is on target with most of the timelines. I would expect a tighter original design timeframe (it sounds like you know what you want in a house) and construction Could also be tighter (depending when you start and who your builder is) Note: I would start talking to builders to get on someone's calendar otherwise it easily could be 2 years to build (spending a year to get on a good contractor's calendar).
Curious, Why do you think you lost out on the other home's?
I'm a local architect. If you want to scrape and build a new house, expect the process to take a minimum of 18 months. The time is broken into 6-8 months for design (can be shorter if you can make fast decisions), 2-3 months for design review (if necessary), 2-3 months for construction documents (drawings and engineering), 2 months for plan check with the City of Sunnyvale, 6-12 months for construction.
Hiring professionals that are experienced in your local area is very important. Unfortunately, if you want it faster, it will cost you more.
Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA
1). Building designing, reviewing and approval time from city.
2). Your finanical.
3). Finding the contractor.
4). Bay area quality control to approve demo
5). Demo contractor schedule
6). Weather : Don't want to do it at the raining season.
I have built a few homes. Check with me for more details.
The turn around time depends on you, your architect and your contractor. Rough estimates is about 18 to 20 months. As for the cost, plans, permits and the cost of construction is roughly $200/sq ft and up depending on what finishes you choose for your home.