Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan, who hopes to occupy the White House beginning next January, may move to within a few miles of that goal this summer.

Friends of the Republican presidential front-runner are looking for a residence -- an eight-month lease will do -- in Northern Virginia so that Reagan and his wife Nancy will be closer to their goal.

Further, the GOP leader is expected to transfer his headquarters from Los Angeles to Arlington in the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Greenhoot Inc., which manages an office building at 901 S. Highland St., Arlington, said yesterday that Reagan representatives are considering leasing 23,000 square feet on the top two floors of the four-story brick building. The space had been occupied until earlier this spring by Connally for President. It was vacated shortly after former Texas governor John Connally dropped out of the GOP contest. Most of the first two floors of the building are leased to the Bureau of the Census.

"We've been talking to the Reagan people," said Don Richardson of Greenhoot. "If a deal is consummated, it probably will be in the next week." g

Reagan's campaign manager, William Casey, said from the Los Angeles headquarters yesterday that "we are pretty close to signing on a place."

Casey said half a dozen Reagan supporters have suggested temporary residences for the Reagans in the Washington area, but that no decision will be made "until the people who want to use it [the Reagans] have a chance to look at the choices."

"Accessibility, security and comfort" are the three requirements for the home, Dever said.

One area mentioned for a residence is near Middleburg, Va., the upperclass hunt country about 40 miles southwest of the nation's capital. Among residents of the area are GOP Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia, and his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor. An aide to Warner said yesterday that the senator had not been contacted directly about helping the Reagans find a house there.

The Middleburg area would provide Reagan with a chance to ride a horse, a relaxation he enjoyed in his days as a cowboy movie star.

The Reagans have two homes in California: a house in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades, and a ranch near Santa Barbara.

Campaign manager Casey said he didn't want to reveal specific locations being considered. He said he learned in the campaigns for former president Richard Nixon that "if you look at four houses for the candidate, all of the owners go to the country club and brag that the president may be using their home . . . When he picks one, the other three are so embarrassed they can't show up at the club for months."