Sure, lots of suggestions. Here are a few:
First, find a good Realtor. One who understands creative techniques and creative financing. Also, one who will actually look through the MRIS, not just build in an automated search to send you properties.
Second, I don't know how much you have in savings or the details of your finances, but if you could afford to buy a $200,000 condo or townhouse, there are plenty out there. Especially if you get creative in purchasing or financing. But even if not, I know of 3 bed/2 bath condos in Reston for $175,000 or less, and townhouses in Woodbridge for around $200,000. In fact, I just did a search for single-family homes or townhouses in Northern Virginia, price under $200,000, minimum of 3 beds, 2 baths, and came up with over 200 listings. In fact, there are about 65 for under $175,000. Most are townhouses in Prince William County; many are foreclosures. So...the properties are out there. As for Maryland, just did a search in PG County--came up with 9 under $175,000. Not a whole lot, but they're out there. And I didn't even search condos...just townhouses and single family homes.
More ideas: I like lease-options. Find a property that's either listed as a rent-to-own/lease-option, or that's listed for sale, long days on market, or listed for rent. Structure a lease-option (some Realtors know how; many real estate investors do, too). You rent for a while, with part of your rent being credited toward the purchase price. During or at the termination of the lease, you can if you choose purchase the property for an agreed-upon amount. Or, if you want, you simply let the lease run out and move on.
Hypothetically, because I don't know your finances (and disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer or accountant, so what I'm offering is not legal or accounting advice): Suppose you find a property you really like. It's on the MRIS for $275,000. It's vacant. You tell the owner: I'd like to rent your property for $1,600 a month. I'd like you to credit $500 a month to the purchase price, if I decide to purchase it. And I'm willing to pay $250,000 for the property. And I'd like a 1 year lease-option, with the right to renew for two additional 1 year terms.
Owner thinks: Hmmm. Property is vacant. I'm being bled dry by it. I don't know what's going to happen with prices. I'd love to sell for $275,000 now, but this is a way to eliminate my negative cash flow, and it gives me a shot at selling for $250,000...probably what I would have accepted if I'd received an offer today.
So, you're in the property. You pay $1,600 a month rent, of which $500 is credited to the purchase price. (That's a heck of a lot better than if you'd gotten an amortized loan.) In one year, if you exercise your option, you'll have accumulated $6,000 in option money, bringing your actual purchase price down to $244,000. If prices have declined, you can continue to rent or you can terminate the lease and move on. If prices have remained stable or risen, you may have a bargain at $244,000. Let's take it out to three years. In year 3, if you exercise your option, you'll have accumulated $18,000 in option money, bringing your actual purchase price down to $232,000. And, though I don't have a crystal ball, 3 years may be enough time for home prices to have firmed up a bit. If the property was actually worth, say, $265,000 at the initiation of the lease-option, it might be worth, say, $280,000 three years from now. And you'd have the option, but not the obligation, to buy it for $232,000.
One other suggestion: The way I bought my first house (through a creative Realtor) was to buy a house and rent out the lower level. The additional rental income helped offset my expenses. The agent even lent me a portion of her commission on the transaction to enable me to fix up the downstairs (to add a kitchen) to make it a complete rentable unit. That was over 20 years ago. (I've put a link to her site below.)
In short, someone with a reasonable salary and a good credit score who wants to buy a property in today's market can do so.