Is there a way to view the site before DNS is pointed to make sure things are working?
Yes – check your welcome emails from DreamHost, there’s a mention of something like http:// (yourdomainhere) .dreamhosters.com which is an accurate mirror of your domain. This will work for you until the DNS change gets through.
Exception: if you are hosting something based on scripts that rely on the domain name, in which case you should change the script configuration from yourdomain.com to yourdomain.dreamhosters.com instead. Then it works. Once your DNS change is complete, you can then change the configuration back without breaking anything.
I don’t work here. I’m just your typical support forum volunteer.