If you need advise at this stage, you better come here first
Come and visit and rent short term , thats real easy.
and not neccessarely expensive. and look around.
Post you arrived and want to meet some residents.
Many of us will be real pleased to be of help.
do not start with saying you want to buy a house or the sharks
are after you.
To get an idea of what is available, I recommend that you email Dean Brown, an expat American who is the Century 21 representative for the north coast. He is one realtor that I can recommend to you without reservation. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two attornies in the Sosua/Cabarete area that I can recommend to you: Fabio Guzman, the lawyer who answers questions in the Legal section of the board, and Guido Perdomo. Fabio's website has information about purchasing property that might be of interest http://www.drlawyer.com/txt/articlesreal.html
As Paul Thate indicated, coming to the DR and getting acquainted, if only to be sure this is where you want to have your home, or second home, is a very good idea. But there is no reason why you can't familiarize yourself with the process of buying property in the DR, as well as what is available in your price range, while you are in Canada.