Paying only HOA and utilities certainly helps you save your funds, and your pre-possession may give you an opportunity to *try* out the home first.
Erik Sachs, CDPE
RpV Realty LLC
But, here's my initial thought. If you have the attorney making sure you are covered from all angles regarding liabilities on this, why not go for it?
If all you are paying is HOA and utilities, you could be there for a few months and have saved some money (toward that difference you are offering to make up of $15k) and what do you lose? If you don't want to stay where you are because the rent has gone up and other places have high rent...in the end, if you have to move out of this place, you are basically in the same position, just with a little more money in the bank.
You'll obviously have the cost of moving and moving into (and potentially out of) the condo if they have move in/out fees. So, take that all into consideration as well.
Now, I do have to say, be sure your Realtor has run the comps and feels that this property is worth the extra money. I never suggest over paying for a property in this market, and realistically, your lender could say it's not worth it in the end and not give you the loan once the appraisal is done.
Interested to see what you decide and how this all turns out in the end...keep us posted!
Keller Williams Realty Partners