i play in home games 2 to 3 times a month and know where you are coming from.
We have frequently tinkered with our starting stacks, time between blinds, how much the blinds go up by each time etc etc.
I suppose it really depends on how long you want a tourney to last for, we normally want about 4 per session so only want each one to last approx 90 mins.
Starting stacks of 60 chips each for about 6 - 7 players, blinds starting at 1 / 2 and going up every 15 or 20 mins. We currently double the blinds each time it goes up - this can lead to a bit of a lottery towards the end but it ensures an end, we feel sorry for the guys that go out first! Im wanting to introduce a smoother blind increase next time.
We used to cap the blinds but dont anymore, tends to lead to a lot of split pots between the last two guys.
As for buy in, again this will depend on how many tournies you want to get through and how much you want to spend in an evening, less tournies = higher buy ins.
Payouts just tend to be all the cash to the winner except 2nd place gets their entry fee back unless there are only 4 - in which case winner takes all or if there are 8+ we may decide to stagger it a bit so that 3rd gets his entry fee back and 2nd gets a bit more - make sure you agree before you start!!
if there are 2 left they can decdie between themselves if they want to split the pot and what proportion goes to who.
Just suck it and see how it works, if you want to lengthen or shorten a tourney then you can increase the time between the blinds going up or start with more chips - a lot will depend on how the play is at your own game.
As for all the talking in between hands - not much you can do there im afraid, especially if you have a couple of mototmouths and the beer is flowing. We tend to have a rule that says the dealer is in charge of controlling the game, i.e. flipping the cards, making sure people have bet / folded etc, if someone is holding the game up a glance at the dealer is normally enough for them to get things moving again.
You may want to try Home Poker Tourney - How to Run a No-limit Texas
Hold'em Poker Tournament and see if anything on there is of any use.