Try to hang in there. I'm in Florida, and it took me 7 tries to finally get a contract accepted. I offered over list price on at least two or three homes as well, and still had a tough time. I'm also using USDA guaranteed financing, and I think some shy sellers away from it just as they do FHA or VA. I'm running into a few roadblocks with the home I am under contract to purchase, but I'm hoping everything will work out.
Don't give up- I know it's disheartening and frustrating to keep losing out on homes you want, but you have to put that aside and keep trying. The market has definitely picked up, and is not the buyers market everyone believes it is. I'm learning that it takes thick skin and some tenacity to win in this market. Hang in there- you'll find the right house, at the right time, and everything will just fall into place.
OP I would goto a builder that has inventory homes I also live in the woodlands area and am there because I am in oil and gas. My apartment got flooded due to a utility line breaking and I was staying in a hotel with all my stuff that wasnt ruined in storage (my insurance companies dime). I was able to work with highland homes at Harmony Subdavision and they made me a great deal on the home and their lender was able to process my loan. I am not going with VA but I had some special circumstances they had to keep going back and forth with underwriting with prior to sending docs. I just passed first round of conditions and am anxiously waiting clear to close. The home is done and all that remains is to close so my stuff can be moved in.
If you want contact info for the person I went through I am happy to provide she is a sweetheart and really will go the extra mile to get you in a home. In either sense best of luck.
Thanks for the help everyone. Those are all good suggestions but the community I am trying to buy does not build anymore. They are building in surrounding communities but not zoned to the schools in The Woodlands. So, we have chosen to keep looking here for the time being. I will certainly update with new info.