Should you have the time flexibility, try to extend your move-in date as far into the Fall months as possible to increase your bargaining leverage. Landlords are still using Summer momentum to avoid giving concessions in September (remember that approximately 75% of leases turn over between April and September). Just a few weeks can make a notable difference.
The closer we get to the end of the year, the more landlords are incentivized to soften rents, lest their apartments sit idle on the market during the dead of winter. One thing to note if you’ve made the decision to extend your move date: your priorities should be more fixed on price and less so on nailing the perfect apartment. Inventory drastically diminishes in the fall months giving you more bargaining power but less from which to choose.