Buying and Selling FAQs in Colorado

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 (DR 2173). Make sure to include vital information like buyer name, the vehicle purchase price (for sales tax purposes), 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 7 model years, you'll have to complete an emissions test.
  • All vehicles coming from out-of-state must have a VIN inspection, UNLESS they were purchased as brand new.
    • If this is the case, your documentation (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, dealer receipt, bill of sale, etc.) must clearly say so.
  • 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 (DR 2922) 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 permit for a vehicle I've just bought from another state?

Temporary permits are issued as a temporary motor vehicle registration for up to 60 days. This gives the seller and buyer time to complete all transfer of ownership documentation.

Once the car is in Colorado, you can apply for temporary permit 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 or Bill Of Sale.
  • Driver's license.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • VIN inspection, UNLESS the vehicle was purchased as brand new.
    • If this is the case, your documentation (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, dealer receipt, bill of sale, etc.) must clearly say so.
  • Proof of emissions testing.

What is an after hours purchase?

A buyer of a vehicle may operate that vehicle prior to registering it under the following conditions:

  • The buyer purchased the vehicle within the last 36 hours from a person who is not a licensed dealer.
  • The vehicle was purchased either on Saturday, Sunday or on a legal holiday or any day between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.
  • The purchased vehicle is being driven from where the seller stored the vehicle to the new place where the buyer intends to store the vehicle.

The buyer must carry a bill of sale that shows the time and date of sale and is signed by both the buyer and the seller. The buyer must also have proof of insurance.

Note: This information is county specific. If you have any questions please check with your appropriate county.

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.

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