Coated magnetite nanoparticles with a 6-8 nm average diameter were prepared. The surfactants used to stabilize the nanoparticles and disperse them in organic solvents were oleic acid (OA), lauric acid, dodecyl phosphonate, hexadecyl phosphonate, and dihexadecyl phosphate. Transmission electron microscopy analyses of the aggregation of the coated particles suggest that carboxylate surfactants provide the particles with better isolation and dispersibility as compared with phosphonate surfactants. However, Fourier transform infrared spectra of the phosphonate and phosphate coated particles suggest that these surfactants cover the surface of the nanoparticles in islands of high packing density. The thermogravimetric and differential scanning calorimetry measurements suggest that there is a quasi-bilayer of these surfactants covering the surface of the nanoparticles, with varying amounts of surfactant in the outer layer and with the second layer weakly bound to the primary layer through hydrophobic interactions between the alkyl chains. The desorption temperatures of the alkyl phosphonates and phosphate are higher than those of the carboxylate coated particles. The enthalpy of binding of the ligands suggests strong P-O-Fe bonding on the surface. Nevertheless, regardless of binding strength, the OA coated particles are better dispersed in organic solvents. Their higher hydrophobicity is likely due to different interactions among the oleyl chains and/or a smaller tendency to form bilayer structures.