How to Transfer a Car Title in Colorado

While anyone might be allowed to drive a particular vehicle, the car’s title proves who owns it. If the car is paid off, then the title will be with the owner. In the event that the car is not paid off, the bank will hold the title, and the owner will have a certificate that stands in for a title for insurance purposes and state registration. Because a title proves ownership, it must be transferred each time the car is sold, or when it is given as a gift, or when it is inherited. In the state of Colorado, transferring a car title is actually relatively simple, and requires only a few basic steps.

Steps to transferring a car title in Colorado

While the steps required to transfer a car title in Colorado aren’t complicated, it is essential that they are all completed correctly.

Step 1: Get the title

First, make sure you get the title from the seller. The seller should sign and date it, and you also need information about the amount you paid for the car, as well as the odometer reading and your name and address.

Step 2: Check emissions requirements

If your county requires emissions inspections, you will need to obtain certification.

Step 3: Get a bill of sale

In some instances, you’ll also need the seller to issue a bill of sale. This applies if you (the buyer) have to drive the car for a time before registering it and after buying it, or if the title doesn’t allow space enough for the odometer reading. It’s also a good idea if you want proof of sale.

Common mistakes

  • Not getting a bill of sale if necessary.
  • Not having emissions inspected if necessary.
  • Not verifying that the seller completed all the fields on the title before taking ownership.

For buyers

Once the sale is completed, buyers will need to take a few additional steps.

  • You need to print and complete the Application for Title and/or Registration.
  • If you will jointly own the car with another person, you need to complete the Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship Acknowledgement of Intent (it’s part of the title application form).
  • You need to have proof of insurance on the car.
  • You must have proof of ID.
  • Bring all of this information, along with the title, to the Colorado DMV office. You’ll need to pay the transfer fee and taxes, all of which vary by county within the state. You must contact your local DMV office to determine the costs.

Gifting and inheriting a car

The steps required for gifting (or receiving a gift) of a car, or inheriting a car are pretty much the same as for buying a used car from a private seller. The only real difference is that those inheriting a car will need to show a death certificate in addition to the title and the title transfer form at the DMV.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Colorado, visit the state’s DMV website.


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