You need to first deal with your possibly losing a good faith deposit with that REO property of yours, before searching for another property.
Keep in mind, there's always going to be, in this market some other killer deal that comes up, unless you're a billionaire, you can't buy them all. You need to find a home you like, that you're getting a good deal on & stick with that one or else you're going to be losing deposits left & right.
The instrument number is the recorder's method of identifying a document. For example, a property deed is normally recorded and is assigned an instrument number (a number stamped in the right hand corner of the document) that provides for a method of identification. Similarly, liens and default notices, which are also recorded in California, are assigned instrument numbers. In short, the "instrument number" is the county recorder's method to identify a recorded or publicly available document.
Here in California, we typically identify properties by their assessor's parcel number or APN, which is the tax assessor's method of identifying a property. When we (as Realtors) speak to the title company, we look for the APN to request preliminary title reports and other information needed to assess the value and condition of a property.
You can use both the APN to find the property and the instrument numbers to find specific documents recorded against the property. Hope this helps!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty