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  • Buying and Selling FAQs in Colorado

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    CO Buying and Selling FAQs

    If you're not a licensed dealer or seasoned shopper, you may feel intimidated buying or selling a vehicle in Colorado. Check out these frequently asked questions to make the transaction a smooth one.


    What should I do if I want to sell my car to a person who lives in another state?

    The process is identical to selling your car to a person living in Colorado. Basically, you'll need to do the following:

    • If your car is less than 10 years old, you need to obtain an odometer disclosure.
    • Provide a bill of sale. Make sure to include vital information like buyer name, the vehicle purchase price, VIN, make, model, and year, and your signature.

    What procedures do I need to take if I want to buy a vehicle from another state or country?

    You'll take the same procedures as buying a vehicle in Colorado except for the following:

    • If the vehicle is more than 4 years old, you'll have to complete an emissions test.
    • Some countries may not issue a certificate of title. In this case, you'll have to show proof of ownership such as a bill of sale.

    Remember that in addition to the above materials, you'll have to follow procedures for regular car registration. For those of you interested in buying a car from another country, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's importation guide.


    What should I do if I buy a vehicle without a title?

    You need to follow something called the Surety Bond Procedure to obtain a title for the vehicle. Below is a brief outline of the steps you must take.

    Surety Bond Procedure:

    1. Complete a VIN inspection.
    2. Request a Colorado Title Record search.
    3. Make sure there is no active lien on the vehicle.
    4. Establish the value of the vehicle.
    5. Buy a surety bond.
    6. Write a statement using the Bond Statement Guide.
    7. Apply for the title at a county motor vehicle office.

    Keep in mind you have to pay various fees along the way, and it will most likely be a time-consuming process. However, if you complete all the requirements, you will be able to drive your vehicle legally.

    For more information, download the procedure or call your local office.


    How can I get temporary tags for a vehicle I've just bought from another state?

    First, you'll have to find out how to get the vehicle to Colorado. Since most states require sellers to keep their tags, you'll have to get temporary tags from the state from which you are buying.

    Once the car is in Colorado, you can apply for temporary tags to get your VIN and emissions inspections. To do this, you'll need to bring the following materials to your local motor vehicle office:

    • Title
    • Driver's license
    • VIN inspection

    I've just bought a car from someone in another state. Can I register it before I move the car to Colorado?

    Unfortunately, no. Both you and your car have to be in the state. This is mainly because cars coming from out-of-state require a VIN inspection.


    How much will it cost to register and title a vehicle I've just bought from a private party?

    Fees vary based on your county of residence, the vehicle's age, weight, and taxable value, and many more factors. You can obtain an estimate by visiting your county website and calling the motor vehicle office there.


    How can I find more information about selling my vehicle?

    Easy. Check out our guide to selling, which has helpful tips about evaluating costs, detailing your vehicle, finding a buyer, and notes on the paperwork.