Colorado law establishes substantive requirements that a deed must satisfy to make a valid transfer of real estate to the new owner. Colorado deeds must also meet the state’s technical formatting requirements to be eligible for filing in the land records. If a deed is noncompliant, it may be rejected by the county clerk and recorder’s office or fail to transfer the real estate as intended.
Formatting Requirements for Colorado Deeds
- Margins. A Colorado deed must have a top margin of at least 1 inch and left, right, and bottom margins of at least ½ inch.1
- Page Size. Colorado does not impose specific page-size requirements, but deeds larger than legal size (8 ½ x 14 inches) may incur additional filing fees.
- Legibility. A Colorado deed must be sufficiently legible and have text dark and large enough to allow for creation of clear copies and digital images.
Content Requirements for Colorado Deeds
- Current and New Owner Names. A deed must adequately identify the parties to and from whom the real estate is transferred. Colorado’s statutory “short form” deed states the names and addresses of the current owner—the grantor—and the new owner—the grantee.2
- New Owner’s Address. A Colorado deed’s first page must state the legal address of the person to whom real estate is being transferred. The new owner’s address should be a road or street address, if applicable.3
- Property Description. An accurate legal description is necessary for identification of the real estate. If a street address or comparable identifying number is displayed on the property, the deed should list the property’s address immediately before or after the legal description. Colorado deeds often include a property’s tax parcel number, but the parcel number is not required.4
- Preparer of New Property Description. If a Colorado deed includes a newly created legal description of the real estate (for example, if the legal description was created from a recent survey), the deed must identify by name and address the individual who created the description.5
- Consideration. Colorado deeds customarily include a statement of consideration—or the price paid for the real estate. However, a statement of consideration is not strictly required, and its absence will not render an otherwise valid Colorado deed invalid.6
- Conveyance to Trustee. If a Colorado deed conveys real estate to a trustee acting on behalf of a living trust or other trust, the deed must clearly indicate the trustee’s representative capacity and either (i) identify the trust’s beneficiary, (ii) identify the trust under which the trustee is acting, or (iii) reference by book-and-page number an affidavit of trust, certificate of trust, or similar instrument recorded in the land records of the county where the property is located.7
- Beneficiary Deeds. Colorado law authorizes beneficiary deeds—also called transfer-on-death deeds or TOD deeds—that automatically transfer real estate to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s death.8 Colorado beneficiary deeds are subject to additional substantive requirements ensuring the transfer becomes effective upon the property owner’s death.9
Execution Requirements for Colorado Deeds
- Signature and Acknowledgement. The current owner conveying an interest in real estate—the deed’s grantor—must sign and acknowledge the deed before a notary or other officer authorized to take acknowledgments.10 A Colorado deed should use the notary acknowledgment form prescribed by statute.11
- Homestead Properties. If the real estate conveyed by a Colorado deed is a qualifying homestead owned by a married person, both spouses must execute the deed.12 However, the spousal signature requirement only applies when either spouse has recorded a homestead declaration.13
- Transfer Declaration. A completed Real Property Transfer Declaration (TD-1000)—a form published by the Colorado Department of Revenue—must accompany a Colorado deed transferring real estate when submitted for recording.14 The transfer declaration provides information about the purchase and transfer of the property and must be signed by the buyer or seller. The completed form is used in calculating property tax assessments but is not recorded in the land records.15
Fees Required with Colorado Deeds
- Recording Fees. A Colorado deed must be recorded with the county clerk and recorder for the county where the property is located to provide formal notice of the transfer.16 The standard recording fee—including a statutory surcharge—is $13.00 for the first page, plus $5.00 for each additional page.17
- Documentary Fee. Deeds transferring Colorado real estate with a purchase price over $500.00 are subject to an additional documentary fee similar to transfer taxes in other states. The documentary fee is assessed at $0.01 for each $100.00 paid for the property, payable to the county clerk and recorder.18
- Deeds Exempt from Documentary Fee. The following deeds are exempt from Colorado’s documentary fee:
- Deeds conveying real estate to or from a governmental agency;
- Deeds transferring real estate as a gift or for consideration less than $500.00;
- Deeds correcting or affirming a previously recorded deed;
- Deeds involving title to cemetery lots;
- Deeds granting or conveying a future interest in real estate; and
- Deeds transferring title due to the property owner’s death.19
- C.R.S. § 30-10-406(3).
- C.R.S. § 38-30-113.
- C.R.S. § 38-35-109(2).
- C.R.S. § 38-35-122(1 -3).
- C.R.S. § 38-35-106.5.
- C.R.S. § 38-30-113(3).
- C.R.S. § 38-30-108.
- C.R.S. §15-15-402(1).
- C.R.S. §15-15-404.
- C.R.S. § 38-30-113(3); C.R.S. § 38-35-104.
- C.R.S. § 38-35-101(2); C.R.S. § 38-35-103.
- C.R.S. § 38-35-118.
- C.R.S. § 38-41-202(3).
- C.R.S. § 39-14-102.
- C.R.S. § 39-14-102(1)(c).
- C.R.S. § 38-35-106.
- C.R.S. § 30-1-103(1); § 30-10-421(1).
- C.R.S. § 39-13-102(2).
- C.R.S. § 39-13-104(1)(a – o).