I very respectfully disagree with much of the advice below. Persistence is a noble trait. But as Albert Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
On the other hand, you do have to make offers. I'm concerned that you say you "are waiting to hear back from our second offer made." So you've made one that wasn't accepted and now you've made a second? That's definitely not enough.
If you'd made a lot of offers, then it would be time to try a different approach. The typical advice would be to raise your offering amount and to strengthen your offer. And that's often OK.
Still, what I was getting at in my first paragraph was that you also have to look where other people aren't looking. Find houses that other people are overlooking...most likely because they aren't on the market (at least for sale). First, take a look at my blog on finding lease-options: http://bit.ly/findalease
option Note: I'm not suggesting a lease-option. But look at the advice for people for finding properties that aren't listed for sale. Use the same techniques. Look for properties that are for rent; then make a purchase offer.
A lot of investors use direct mail, especially to out-of-town owners, to find properties. The out-of-town owner is likely renting the property. One bad tenant or bad experience--and they happen regularly--and the owner starts thinking about whether it'd be better to sell. Or the owner would like to sell but knows the house isn't in the best condition and the owner does want to (or isn't able to) do the upgrades. Yes, it means you might find an owner with yellow kitchen appliances and green shag carpeting. But at least you've found something with no competition.
Here's another suggestion I never see: Buy a home from a wholesaler. In real estate investing, a wholesaler is someone who goes out, finds a property, puts it under contract, then sells the contract (usually to a rehabber). The rehabber fixes the place up and puts it on the market. The first two transactions--original owner to wholesaler and wholesaler to rehabber--seldom appear on the MLS. Now, wholesalers will be reluctant to sell to you, but for the additional profit, they will.
Here's an example of how it works in my area. (And my area is very hot right now.) A wholesaler finds a house that, when fixed up, will sell for $500,000--maybe $40,000. The house needs a lot of work. The wholesaler puts it under contract for $215,000. He assigns (the contract) to a rehabber for $240,000 total--the $215,000 contract price plus a profit of $25,000. The rehabber rehabs the house and puts it on the market through the MLS for $485,000. It sells in a day. (And, yes, wholesalers are finding properties like that.)
What if you went to a wholesaler and offered $250,000? That's an extra $10,000 for the wholesaler.
Or another example. The house would be worth $300,000 fixed up. It needs $30,000 in repairs. A rehabber will pay the wholesaler a maximum of about $170,000. The wholesaler probably put it under contract for $145,000-$160,000. What if you came in and offered $200,000? That's an EXTRA $30,000 for the wholesaler.
Most folks reading this are going to say: A house in that condition won't qualify for FHA. Answer: Look into a 203(k) loan--an FHA loan that includes rehab costs.
How do you find wholesalers? Find a Realtor who's investor-friendly. He/she will know. Or attend some meetings at your local real estate investment association (REIA). You can probably do an online search for "real estate investment clubs Concord California." I just did and came up with a bunch.
So: Two keys to your problem:
First, make offers.
Second, look for properties where your competition (so-called "retail" buyers) isn't.
Hope that helps.