Nothern Virginia (Fairfax & Loudoun) is struggling just like any other area in the country with low or tight housing inventory. Some homes don't even make it on the market and are under contract while other homes have multiple offers.
In this stressful time, how do you buy a home?
Well, look for a home that needs some work. I understand you don't have financial resource to update the home. If the home is in a livable condition and upgrades can be done in a year or two when you are financially capable go for it.
This ugly duckling may work out for you in a long run. How? Well, homes that do not have an offer for a period the sellers are motivated and willing to consider a reasonable offer to be done with the home sale. If you find one of those homes go for it. Negotiate a happy medium.
If you are a 1st time home buyer ask for a home warranty that will help you get through the first year of the ownership of the home.
Apart from the warranty and negotiating a price when you are not competing against other buyers you will feel the ease of home buying. Learn as much as about the home by hiring an experienced home inspector.