I'm considering buying a house, but I'm very early in the process so I don't want to commit to anything yet. I noticed that my bank (USAA) has an option for mortgage pre-qualification, and I'm curious about what kind of interest rate I qualify for. This process requires that I grant the bank permission to pull my credit score (which is excellent).
Is this a good way to determine what interest rate I can get, or is there a better alternative? What are the potential downsides? I'm looking for a "hard" number, not just an estimate.